There are musicals that keep coming back (perhaps some that shouldn’t) but one musical that is seldom seen is Lerner and Lowe’s musical fantasy, “Brigadoon”, an amazing love story, now on stage at The Goodman Theatre. It is hard to believe that it has been decades since a total production of this marvelous tale has been on a Chicago stage. For those of you who are unaware of this fantasy, it is a story about two men who are off in Scotland to do a bit of hunting before returning home for one of them, Tommy (a solid performance by Kevin Early), to get married.. His “Best Man”, Jeff (deftly handled by Rod Thomas), and he become lost on the hillside and what takes place during the next two hours and twenty minutes is a story of true love and one finding oneself. I am making reference of course to Tommy, and his future.
The time is 1946, but the people of “Brigadoon” this quaint little village, appear to be from another time, so the boys think they have come into some festival. What they do find out is that hundreds of years ago, when there was war in Scotland, a bit of magic was placed on the town allowing them to continue with their lives as it was, with one difference. They would disappear and return every hundred years. There is the premise of our take. They cannot leave the borders or Brigadoon’s magic will leave with them and they will all cease to exist. This is very important to the story that is being told, but if you listen very closely, you will hear the exception that was part of the spell.
Directed by the always reliable Rachel Rockwell, who also is the Choreographer, this is a tale where the dance numbers help in the telling of each of the sub-stories in “Brigadoon”. Remember, this is Scotland, and their culture is filled with dance- so it is special choreography by Rockwell and her cohorts that makes this show extra special and one that I am sure will have multiple Jeff nominations for this season. Please note that the dance in this production is not typical “musical” choreography, but rather a combination of Ballet mixed with typical Scottish Country dance. There is a marvelous wedding number in the first act, a sword dance that is breathtaking and reminds one of the “Bottle Dance” in “Fiddler on the Roof” as we learn about the culture of the people through the traditional dances of their people.
Rockwell’s new version of this old classic is one that should be on your “MUST SEE” list! It is filled with joy and happiness and the cast is highly energetic with voices that are amazing. The set design by Kevin Depinet is masterful and yet it never detracts from the action on the stage or the movement of the actors. In fact, it is a true backdrop to help tell the story without ever overpowering the action. Mara Blumenfeld’s costumes are wonderful and Garth Helm’s sound allows us to hear every word of every song as well as the dialogue. The lights by Aaron Spivey and the musical direction by the always perfect Roberta Duchak along with the projections by Shawn Sagady help to complete the perfect picture that Rockwell has framed on the stage of the Goodman.
What makes this story come alive is not just the wonderful music- songs like “I’ll Go Home With Bonnie Jean”, “The Heather on The Hill”, “Come To Me Bend To Me”, “Almost Like Being In Love” and the powerful “There But For You Go I”. The music is over 60 years old ( 1947 is when it opened) as is the story about love, real love and the fact that “love can move mountains”. The new, revised book by Brian Hill, brings us into our times but keeps the story as seen by Lerner true to his original and the cast of actors, some of Chicago’s finest take the story to a higher level, allowing a new generation to see what their parents and in some cases grandparents saw in another century. Actors like Larry Adams, Joseph Anthony Foronda, Rhett Guter, George Keating, Michael Aaron Lindner, Roger Mueller, Olivia Menteria who along with Jordan Brown do some amazing work,as well as the adorable Maggie Portman ( a bundle of energy and comic delight as Meg Brockie), Katie Spelman, Craig Spidle and the absolutely amazing performance by Jennie Sophia as Fiona MacLaren, the woman who changes the life of one Tommy Albright. The ensemble of players adds even more voice and dance features to this solid cast. Again- this is one that you should find a way to see. It has been extended! Bravo!
Tuesdays and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. ( except on July 27th/no evening)
Tickets range in price from $25 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 312-443-3800 , visiting the box office or online at www.GoodmanTheatre.org/Brigadoon where you can check all dates and ticket prices along with any specials. Again, if you have only one show to see this season, THIS IS THE ONE!
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Brigadoon”.