Broadway Blip: Brigadoon
One of the most popular musicals of the twentieth century (it was certainly produced by every high school and community theatre) was the 1947 Lerner & Loewe classic Brigadoon. It established the composing team as second only to Rodgers and Hammerstein in prowess, setting the duo up to evolve toward their most celebrated project, My Fair Lady. Brigadoon tells the story of two Americans on a hunting trip in the Scottish Highlands. Lost and hungry, a small town (named “Brigadoon”, in case you were wondering) appears out of the mist and its denizens study the two men with curiosity, but invited them into their fold as the town prepares for a big wedding. One of the hunters is named Tommy, and in short order he falls in love with Fiona, the sister of bride. Only when his heart is entirely taken with the woman does he find out Brigadoon’s miracle. The town is under a spell that it appears for one day every hundred years. Now Tommy must decide whether he wants to join Fiona and fade away with the hamlet for a century of peaceful slumber, or should he return to NYC where he is generally unhappy with his fiancée Jane. Highly romantic and full of old world atmosphere, the score features a blend of Scottish folk music and the contemporary showtune. Among the songs are the oft-recorded “Almost Like Being in Love”, “I’ll Go Home with Bonnie Jean”, “The Heather on the Hill” and “There But for You Go I.” The original production, directed by Robert Lewis, ran for 581 performances Brigadoonhas been revived on Broadway several times including in 1957, 1963, and 1980. A film version starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse was made in 1954.
Fun Fact: Brigadoon was choreographed by Agnes de Mille, the influential maestro of dance who had created some of Broadway’s most game-changing choreography for the musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel and Bloomer Girl.