‘Brigadoon’ a warm bath of professional song and dance
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By Jud Snyder  October 18, 2013 12:00 am

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that we 99 percent  of  Americans could use a “Brigadoon” of our own for peace, love and shelter. 

Yeah, Scottish legend has it existing for only one day every 100 years. But if your timing’s impeccable, it’ll be a glorious day. 

Spreckels Performing Arts Center’s Director Gene Abravaya plucked this tune-filled heart-warmer from the Broadway script shelves, directed the production originally created by Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music) before their “My Fair Lady” hit, and it’s on stage at Spreckels weekends through Oct. 27.

It was made into a movie back in 1954 starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse and Van Johnson. The film occasionally pops up on late night classic movie cable channels.

The story has two typical American hikers, Tommy Albright (played by Tyler Custin) and Jeff Douglas (William Thompson), exploring a deep Scottish Forest and with impeccable timing, stumble across the village of Brigadoon. They’re enchanted with their discovery.

Every resident in the village, teens to seniors, can splendidly sing and dance and they’re all expert performers, thanks to the superb choreography of Michella Snider.

This air of professional stagecraft clings to this production like the artificial smoke clouds cleverly indicating scene changes. This touch is part of the smooth set direction with rolling stairs and doors doing their job thanks to set designers Eddy Hansen and Elizabeth Bazzano. All the men, except the two hikers, are garbed in authentic Scotch kilts designed by Pamela Enz for genuine Brigadoon flavor.

Boosting the production along is an 18-piece pit band led by conductor and pianist Cynthia Heath, hidden from sight stage front but continually on cue for all the singing and dancing on stage. 

The best known songs from Lerner and Loewe include “Heather on the Hill,” “Come to Me, Bend to Me,” (superbly rendered), “Almost Like Being in Love” and “There But for You Go I.”

 The duets between Tommy and Fiona will have your eyes moistening up, believe me.

Singing the main role is soprano Lauren Siler as Fiona MacLaren, who captures the heart of hiker Tommy Albright. She has a lot of competition, for every actor filling the huge Spreckels stage has strong vocal cords. Does Fiona eventually unite with her beloved Tommy? You’ll find out at the end of the play, for I don’t deal with spoiler alerts. What’s the key element? It’s L-O-V-E, of course.

 “Brigadoon” is a two-hour music and dancing romp that’ll take you light years away from casinos, traffic, politics and all the headline rubble assaulting our eyeballs. You have until the Sunday matinee on Oct. 27 to enjoy this audio and visual warm bath. Call the box office at 588-3400 Tuesday through Saturday afternoons or walk up to it one hour before curtain times to see what’s available.

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