Richard, John, David, Ian, and I went to see *Brigadoon* at City Center Encores on 11/18/17.
It's a musical from 1947 by Lerner and Loewe (better known for *My Fair Lady*) about two New York guys on a hunting trip in Scotland who stumble upon a quaint Scottish village, Brigadoon. They soon learn that Brigadoon is a magical village and appears only every 100 years - - every night, when the people of Brigadoon go to bed, another 100 years goes by in the outside world. I saw the show when it was done at my high school the year after I graduated, but had never seen another production, had never even seen the movie.
Let me tell you, it was extraordinary! The show is so well made, with some really lovely songs and just enough variety to keep things moving along. Of course it's a little corny, but director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon reveled in the corn, he made a delicious corn casserole! There were a few moments that brought me to tears, they were so joyous and full of sweetness. And the rest of the audience appeared to be eating it up, they hollered and hooted, with a big rousing cheer at the end of the best-known song, "Almost Like Being In Love."
The leading couple was played by Kelli O'Hara and Patrick Wilson. They were each perfect and had palpable chemistry. The leading man was supposed to have been played by Steven Pasquale, who had played opposite O'Hara in *The Bridges of Madison County* and *Far From Heaven.* He decided to do the play *Junk* instead, so Encores got Patrick Wilson. He needs to go more stage work, he was wonderful. He has a handsome voice and an affable way of delivering a song, like the thoughts are spilling out of his head.
O'Hara is simply one of the best musical theater actors in the world today. She infuses everything she does with truth and sincerity, and she has such a beautiful voice. It's always a joy to see her, and she has a special way with these mid-century musicals, she dusts them off and presents them as the valid works of theatre that they are. One thing I will say about O'Hara: one of the guys in our group, Ian, is Scottish, so I asked him about how they were doing with the Scottish accents. He said they generally did well, but maybe O'Hara sounded a little Irish now and then. Our friend David said, "Well, her name is Kelli O'Hara!"
The comic couple (the wacky sidekicks) were played by Aasif Mandvi and Stephanie J. Block. Richard and I know Mandvi from the TV show *Younger,* he was great in this. Sardonic but not a buzzkill, he was cute about it. Block really knows how to deliver a show-stopping number - - her nervous breakdown number in *Falsettos* was one of the most thrilling things I've ever seen onstage - - but I felt like she was trying a little too hard in this show. A little less effort would have been welcome, and served her (and the show) better.
Robert Fairchild was the dancing male lead and oo Lawdy, he was something else. His character is the dark cloud that keeps the show from getting too sweet. His dancing was thrilling and he fully embodied the brooding energy of the character. There's a lot of dancing in this show, and Wheeldon did a glorious job of suggesting traditional Scottish dancing but giving it that razzle dazzle that we want in a Broadway musical. He also knows how to communicate character in dance, and amplify the story. It's not just a lot of impressive moving around.
All of the Brigadoon men were wearing kilts, and they looked fine in those kilts. The dancing was vigorous, and those kilts were flying. I was a little disappointed that they weren't wearing them in the authentic Scotsman manner, but this was a family show...
PS, a special bonus: the Eydie Gormê recording of "Almost Like Being In Love!"