Post Dispatch - 6/20/01

By Judith Newmark 
Post-Dispatch Theater Critic
With kilt-clad bagpipers marching through the aisles and 8,970 people in the brand-new seats, The Muny season opened Monday night with a revival of the kind of show the open-air theater is best known for: a Golden Age of Broadway musical, Lerner and Loewe's "Brigadoon."
Under Jon Jory's direction, this story about an enchanted Scottish hamlet that comes to life for one day every 100 years shapes up as a romance in the fullest sense. "Brigadoon" is not a musical comedy. It's a fairy tale with musical numbers that fit the Broadway conventions of its era, the late 1940s. There's a big scene-setter ("Down on MacConnachy Square"), a comic show-stopper ("My Mother's Weddin' Day") a memorable duet for the hero and heroine ("Almost Like Being in Love").

And there's dance.

Oh, is there dance. At its best, "Brigadoon" shapes up as an arresting dance concert that blurs all kinds of boundaries. The original choreographer, Agnes DeMille, introduced elements of ballet, modern and folk dance to the Broadway stage. Here, choreographer Gemze De Lappe - one of DeMille's leading dancers and the premier dancer in "Brigadoon" on Broadway - integrates all those elements to dramatic effect. In "Brigadoon," we can see the straight line from DeMille to contemporary Broadway choreographers such as Susan Strohman and Savion Glover, both of whom press the boundaries of "show" dancing by incorporating other dance styles.

De Lappe's talented company includes Louise Hickey-Cadiff who, with the female ensemble, performs a tender bridal ballet, Eric Bourman as an unhappy young man who executes an elegant sword dance with the male ensemble, and Amy Sullivan, whose stern funeral dance can break your heart.

Judy McLane and James Clow star as Fiona, a young woman in the enchanted village, and Tommy, an American tourist who stumbles upon it. They make an appealing couple visually and vocally, just as they did in last season's "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." John Clonts shines in the lively "I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean" and the sweet "Come to Me, Bend to Me," and Victoria Clark handles the comic numbers with verve...

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