Brigadoon, a mystical “Shangri-La” musical about love, spiritualism, and the acceptance of destiny, was something of a hybrid for the great team of Lerner and Loewe. Regarded by many as being closer to an operetta than a musical, the original 1947 Broadway production opened just a year after Rodgers and Hammerstein’s powerhouse show, Carousel.
And like both Carousel and 1943’s Oklahoma! , the hauntingly emotional Brigadoon was was created during the years of World War II, and was distinguished by the masterful balletic choreography from the great Agnes deMille.
Filled with ravishing music, the show is a feast for ensemble singing and dancing, with a dazzling Act 1 finale Wedding Sword Dance which, in many ways, prefigured the work of Jerome Robbins almost 20 years later for Fiddler on the Roof’s Act 1 finale Wedding Bottle Dance.
Written 8 years before My Fair Lady, the show includes a score of soulful standards (“There But For You Go I” “Waitin’ for My Dearie”), choral masterpieces (“Down on MacConnachy Square” “Once in the Highlands”, “Brigadoon”, “The Chase” and the Act 1 wedding finale), love songs (“Come to Me, Bend to Me”, “Almost Like Being Love”), hilarious belt numbers (“My Mother’s Weddin’ Day”, “The Real Love of My Life”), comedy, heartache, powerful dances, and a story that leads to sacrifice and redemption, with an unforgettably haunting final curtain.
A slice of history: more than 50 years ago, in 1966, Brigadoon was the first show to be directed in Lake Forest by the young, inspired, and phenomenally gifted LFHS teacher and CenterStage founder Jay Criche, whose memory is honored today by the Jay Criche Academic Scholarship Fund.