When Americans Tommy and Jeff go traipsing through the Scottish highlands on a hunting trip in Goodspeed Musicals' Brigadoon, opening April 30 following previews that began March 30, the hunters are not men of 1947 — they are wearing Patagonia jackets and carrying cell phones.
In a break from tradition, the new revival of the 1947 Lerner and Loewe classic at Goodspeed Opera House will be set in 2001 and 1801.
Greg Ganakas directs the Goodspeed staging of the beloved musical fantasy that gave the world "Heather on the Hill," "Almost Like Being in Love" and "Come to Me, Bend to Me." James Clow is Tommy and Amanda Serkasevich is the smart, comely 1801 Scotswoman, Fiona. Performances continue to June 23.
David Rossmer plays Tommy's pal, Jeff, Lisa Brescia is Meg, Daniel Reichard is Charlie Dalrymple and Nili Bassman is Jean. The 1947 musical famously concerns two American hunters who come across an historic village in the mist, only to discover that it's the 18th-century (now early 19th-century) Brigadoon, a town that vanished years ago when a deacon asked for a miracle to keep the place free from evil. It only reappears every 100 years.
Ganakas previously helmed Goodspeed's The Pajama Game and George M. Peggy Hickey choreographs the production, which features specialty Scottish sword-dancing. The company includes David Barron (Mr. Lundie), Paul Carlin (Andrew MacLaren/Frank), Robyn Cohen, Brian J. Cooper (Bagpiper), Elizabeth Ferrell (Maggie Anderson), Paul Gallagher, Dale Hensley (Archie Beaton), Natalie Hill, Kevin Loreque, Patrick Mullaney (Harry Beaton), Greg Roderick, James R. Santos, Adam Souza, James Tabeek, Jennifer S. Taylor, Melanie Vaughan and Anna Winthrop.
Michael O'Flaherty is musical director. Designers are Howard Jones (sets), John Carver Sullivan (costumes) and Kirk Bookman (lighting).
Goodspeed Musicals is devoted to reviving classic musicals and nurturing new ones. It operates The Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT (usually the home of revivals), and The Norma Terris Theatre (focusing on new or developing works) in Chester, CT.
Brigadoon tickets at The Goodspeed Opera House are $22-$44. For information, call (860) 873-8668 or visit the website at www.goodspeed.org.
Music in three-quarter-time, or variations of it, will be heard at Goodspeed Opera House in fall 2001, when Goodspeed Musicals presents Stephen Sondheim's waltz-enriched A Little Night Music, a change from the previously expected King of Hearts.
The Sondheim musical, drawn from Ingmar Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night," will play the Tony Award-honored musical theatre house in East Haddam, CT, Sept. 28-Dec. 16.
Also on the 2001 slate are the previously-announced world premiere of Joe DiPietro's new Gershwin-punctuated musical, They All Laughed! (June 29-Sept. 22).
Darko Tresnjak (Long Wharf Theatre's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) will helm Night Music. The sophisticated musical tells how love makes fools of everyone, focusing on ex-lovers Desiree and Frederick. The 1973 Tony Award winner gave the world "Send in the Clowns." In order to create a rarefied, European world of haunted romance, Sondheim wrote his music in three quarter time (or variations of it).
They All Laughed! has a book by the author of Over the River and Through the Woods and a score pulled from the George and Ira Gershwin catalog. The show is drawn from the 1926 Gershwin-Guy Bolton P.G. Wodehouse tuner, Oh, Kay!, which gave the world, "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Dear Little Girl" and "Do, Do, Do." John Rando directs, and Joey McKneely is choreographer. The score will include "He Loves and She Loves," "The Sweet and Low Down," "Heaven on Earth" and more. James Ludwig stars with Tobi Foster, Donna English and Mark Lotito, among others.
They All Laughed! is a Goodspeed production in association with Jonathan Pollard, Dena Hammerstein and Bernie Kukoff (who are also responsible for producing DiPietro's Off-Broadway hits I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and Over The River And Through The Woods).
Producer Pollard said this is "the first regional step" toward its commercial future.
"Joe was approached by the Gershwin family to do this project," Pollard told Playbill On-Line Nov. 10, 2000. "He created a Kaufmanesque farce — a screwball comedy with glorious music. What is wonderful about this project is that it's not a huge musical, it's a musical with three sets very much in the tradition of the old-fashioned glorious musicals. It's not a 'mega musical.'"
Pollard said DiPietro took plots points and some songs from Oh, Kay! and reinvented a script. It's still set in the 1920s, during Prohibition.
They All Laughed! was first performed in a series of industry readings in January 2000.
It's not the first time the songs of George and Ira Gershwin have been plundered for "new" shows: My One and Only, Crazy For You and The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm were all new Broadway constructions using old songs.
— By Kenneth Jones