Below a luxurious burgundy velvet curtain, Rockville Musical Theatre’s Brigadoon Orchestra delivers the Overture under the Musical Direction of Joseph Sorge. The curtain opens as traveling New Yorkers, Tommy Albright (James Meyers) and Jeff Douglas (Kirk Patton Jr.) appear. The pair is wandering through Scotland to escape their troubled city lives. Hapless, lost and unaware are they of the blissful folks just ahead on the road.
An ensemble of splendid vocal artists with the talent and presence of a Disney Princess musical mingle in their town’s square on market day. Colorful period costumes (by Hillary Glass) are the first visual cues to suspend belief and immerse oneself in the bonnie Scottish countryside. Brigadoon is adapted for stage with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. Laura Andruski directs a diverse and talented cast through dozens of realistic dances and ballads for a thoroughly delightful performance.
Brigadoon’s bucolic townsfolk are gathered in the marketplace hawking wares and extolling local virtues when textile merchant Archie Beaton (Mark Steimer) – who may as well be titled ‘Chief Foreshadowing Officer’ – reveals two key story elements: His son Harry Beaton (Ari Halvorsen) is forlorn that his major crush plans to marry another fella; and that he (Archie) is happy to sell you a pair of replacement trousers just in case you “should happen to rip your own on a thistle…”.
Meyers’ arresting performance style and clear crisp baritone voice clearly establish Tommy’s obsession with Fiona MacLaren (Keely Borland). Borland’s full range vocal delivery is enough to capture any suitor. Their duets, “Almost Like Being in Love,” and “The Heather on the Hill” evoke honest and heartfelt romance.
Patton’s strapping presence and bumpkin innocence cause Jeff to catch the attention of flirtatious Meg Brockie (Amanda Jones). She extols the breadth of her romantic pursuits in “My Mother’s Wedding Day” revealing “…so cold and stiff was John MacVay, they used him for a serving tray!” Her come-hither looks and never quit pursuit of a romp in the thistles costs Jeff a pair of trousers but allows him to appreciate just how generous the people of this backward town can be. Their interaction is delightfully funny at every appearance.
The center spoke of Brigadoon’s plot is the wedding of Charlie Dalrymple (Noah Calderon) and Fiona’s sister – Jean MacLaren (Erica Aquilina). They dance and sing romantically together. Charlie serenades Jean through the front door of the MacLaren home in “Come to Me, Bend to Me.” Choreographer Valerie Mickles created a touching pretend wedding ceremony with Jean and three of her girlfriends in the MacLaren front yard.
At Jean and Charlie’s actual wedding, disgruntled Harry makes a pass at Jean. Her rejection humiliates him and Harry vows to flee Brigadoon. Doing so would break a magical spell which holds the town in suspension. All the male citizens of Brigadoon chase Harry through the woods and prevent his departure.
We are allowed to know the secret of Brigadoon thanks to an explanation given to Tommy, Jeff and Fiona by Mr. Lundie (John Barclay Burns). He is a quirky town elder and the only person alive who knows the origin of the spell.
Spectacular visual effects came in the masterful collaboration of light, sound, set, and stage designers Praveen Javehrani, Sarah Katz, Maggie Modig and Jerry Callistein.
Special accolades are due to the sterling inclusion of a truly beautiful live bagpipe performance by Marti Dillon. Well done Las!
I want to also acknowledge the success of Dialect Coach Allan Brown and his assistant John Barclay Burns for a seamless authentic sounding presentation.
Rockville Musical Theatre’s delightful presentation of Brigadoon is a family-friendly combination of lyrical dance, whimsical music, and a storyline that proves that love transcends time.
Running Time: Two hours, plus a 15-minute intermission.
The Brigadoon cast includes: Andrew MacLaren (Peter Wolfe), Angus MacGuffie (Robert Gudauskas), Stuart Dalrymple (Dave Robinson), Sandy Dean & Frank (Caleb Thomas), Jane Ashton (Hillary Templeton), Maggie Anderson (Valerie Mickels), and the Ensemble (Samara Strauss, Nessa Amherst, Allyson Atkins, Dave Bradley, Karen Carp, Frank Kesterman, Terri Magers, Anabel Milton, Michelle Moses-Eisenstein, Christine Pash, Deborah Peetz, Ed Vilade, Amy Winter and Denise Young.