Light Opera Works' production of "Brigadoon"
Emily Rogers stars as Jean MacLaren and Brandon Moorheard is Charlie Dalrymple in Light Opera Works' production of "Brigadoon" running through June 12 at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston. Photo by Rich Foreman

"Brigadoon" ranks as one of the stage stories that has literally become as lost and forgotten about as the fictional tiny Scottish village that serves as the subject of the plot.

I can certainly identify with the press release pitch used by Light Opera Works in Evanston, which is offering a one-week run of "Brigadoon."

"As a heavenly mist caresses the highlands of Scotland, two young Americans embark on an adventure they'll never forget," reads the press kit.

"The village of Brigadoon comes to life just one day every 100 years, but that's all it takes for Tommy to fall in love with the fair lassie Fiona."

As a columnist who writes about theater, I'm beginning to feel like "Brigadoon" is a musical production that is only offered by most theater venues "once every 100 years."

In the more than two decades I've written about theater, this is a musical I've never seen performed in any of the large, professional companies.

So the not-for-profit Light Opera Works, which uses the campus space of Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., at Northwestern University, to showcase its productions, offering "Brigadoon" is a warm and enchanting visit to an inviting fantasy.

Yes, this stage space is a trek and the Light Opera Work show runs are always short, but if you're a fan of a certain show, any journey of the heart is a worthy investment and the campus is beautiful this time of year.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's original Broadway production in 1947 ran for nearly 600 hundred performances in New York before hitting London's West End and launching into another nearly 700 performances beginning in 1949.

I will also add I've never seen the MGM film version of the story from 1954 directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, Cyd Charisse and Elaine Stewart.

The musical's score includes the classics "Almost Like Being in Love," "The Heather on the Hill," "The Love of My Life" and "Waitin' for My Dearie."

There are certainly die-hard fans of this musical, including my columnist colleague Eloise Valadez, who was able to list all of her favorite songs to help bring me up to speed as a primer.

The Light Opera Works production is wonderfully directed and choreographed by Light Opera Works Artistic Director Rudy Hogenmiller.

"Brigadoon" includes leads Robert Hunt as Tommy Albright and Jennie Sophia as Fiona MacLaren offering solid and focused vocals and the wonderfully wry and likable Clay Sanderson as Jeff Douglas, and my all-out favorite, Maggie Portman as lustful Meg Brockie, who's always on the hunt for a man. Brockie's delivery of "Love of My Life" is a show-stopping song that's fun and amusing every step and strum of the way. And note, while a favorite part of the original stage musical, it was one of the many songs cut (in this case, because of the flirty implications) from the final film.

The design/production team includes beautiful and inspired scenery by Nick Mozak.

Alas, Charles Jolls lighting lagged and Miles Polaski hit some snags with sound.

"Brigadoon" runs until Sunday and tickets range from $32 to $92 with ages 21 and younger half price. FYI: (847) 869-6300 or lightoperaworks.com

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

 

 

 

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