- It was deeply touching to be totally enthralled by the current
production of Brigadoon at the Goodspeed Opera House. I first
saw it with five guests shortly after it opened, but waited until
after the official press opening to construct a review (unlike the
reviewer from The Hartford Courant, who gets the drop on the rest of
the press by going earlier). The glow, the polish, the energy and
the romance were as magnificent on April 1st as on April 20th - a
testimony to the directors and cast of this spellbinding production
of Lerner and Loewe's masterpiece.
- Hollywood would do well to make a movie on location in Scotland
with the marvelous cast pulled together for this Goodspeed revival.
Director Greg Ganakas (who guided Goodspeed's Pajama Game and
George M) provides a basically traditional Brigadoon
with slight updates to the present, e.g., a cell phone for a lost
Tommy and Jeff in their opening scene. Part of the magic of this
production was the illusion of height and depth created by the sets
of Howard Jones, clever choreography by Peggy Hickey (strongly
suggesting the original dances by Agnes DeMille), dramatic lighting
effects by Kirk Bookman and appropriately attractive costumes by
John Carver Sullivan. Michael O'Flaherty's musical guidance was as
perfect as the casting of Daniel Reichard as tenor Charlie, whose
I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean and Come to Me, Bend to Me
seemed a step lower than the original key, perhaps in order to show
Reichard's unusually beautiful voice to full advantage. The other
ideally cast leads were James Clow
as Tommy (never has the role been sung as beautifully; every tone is
mellifluous and heartfelt), Amanda Serkasevich as a pulchritudinous
Fiona with radiant high notes, Nili Bassman as Jean, a
breathtakingly beautiful Lisa Brescia as Meg, and David Rossmer
(terrific with deadpan comedy) as Jeff, superbly supported by
Patrick Mullaney (a brilliantly danced Harry), David Barron as Mr.
Lundie, Elizabeth Ferrell as Maggie, Frank Paul Carlin as Andrew,
Greg Roderick as Angus, Robyn Cohen as Jane and Dale Hensley as
- The balance of a smartly cast ensemble consisted of Adam Souza
(noted for his excellent work in Max Showalter's Touch of the
Child), James R. Santos, James Tabeek, Jennifer S. Taylor,
Melanie Vaughan, Natalie Hill, Kevin Loreque and Anna Winthrop.
Bagpiper Brian J. Cooper added just the right pathos to several
- Musical high moments, which melted the heart and roused the
risibilities, included Reichard's I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean; Clow
and Serkasevich's The Heather on the Hill, There but for You Go I,
and From This Day On; the stunning Sword Dance and Reel; and Clow's
uplifting, incomparable rendition of Almost like Being in Love.
These artists are versatile legit singers who act wondrously well.
What a cast for a definitive movie version of Brigadoon! The
1954 film of this 1947 musical was not up to the task. It confined
an expansive work to a sound stage instead of utilizing the beauty
of the great outdoors (as did The Sound of Music). Even the normally
whimsical Gene Kelly gave a sluggish performance under the
uninspired direction of Vincente Minnelli. The directorial
imagination, the animation, the romance, the dancing, the beauty of
the singing and the sense of drama onstage at the Goodspeed achieved
what the 1954 movie didn't. Hollywood take note: Here's an
opportunity for a refreshing change of pace with enduring charm.
John Pike's program notes pointed out that author-lyricist Alan Jay
Lerner once asked his father where people go when they die. Father
Joseph Lerner (women know of his chain of apparel stores) replied:
"Nowhere. And if anyone tells you differently, he's lying to
you." Alan Jay Lerner went on to embody a sense of spirituality
in many of his works in a search for the hereafter, perhaps in part
to prove his father wrong. Regardless of his motivation, the
spiritual element of Brigadoon is as touching as its
delightful music and theatrical trappings.
- Whether or not a new movie is made of this Goodspeed revival by
some enlightened producer, you should not miss this enthralling
Brigadoon. Though it will be with us until June 23rd, I have
it on the highest authority that it will not return as fully
realized again for a hundred years.