Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brigaddon at Light Opera Works

As I watched Light Opera Works glorious production of Alan Jay Lerner and Federick Loewe's musical “Brigadoon,” I couldn't help but think how wonderful it was to hear a 24 piece orchestra play such classics as “Waitin' for My Dearie”, “Come to Me, Bend to Me”, “Almost Like Being in Love”, and the list goes on and on.

In the dreamy town of Brigadoon, a mysterious village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though to it's inhabitants, the passing of time is no longer than one night. The only rule is that no one from Brigadoon may ever leave, otherwise the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever. Lost in the Scottish Highlands are two American tourists Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas who stumble upon the village just as a wedding is about to be celebrated, and their arrival leaves a lasting mark on the villagers.

Evanston based Light Opera Works has assembled a top notch cast and crew for this show and the list of reasons to see to run out and see this show could end up looking like a grocery list for a family of ten.

I have to say that at the top of the list is the orchestra led by Roger L. Bingaman, who is able and lucky enough to conduct such a large group, at least by what is usually the norm for most theater companies . It's always a pleasure to hear this particular score played so beautifully be all involved.

That is not to short change this work on this production by Rudy Hogenmiller who directed and choreographed this production with a fluidity that keeps the show moving along but also makes makes for lasting impressions even after the show has ended.

Also included high on the list is the cast that handles the score and dancing with grace and as easily as they are able to tackle some of the jaw dropping fight sequences that happen in the 2nd act. Robert Hunt sings the role of Tommy Albright with a stunning baritone that was able to stop both acts with “Almost Like Being in Love” and with “There But for You Go I.” His partner in crime leading lady Jennie Sophia who was wonderful in Circle Theatre's production of “Kiss Me Kate” employs her gorgeous voice on “Waitin' for My Dearie.” and the aforementioned love as easily as she handles both the Scottish dialect and her characterization of Fiona MacLaren.

In the secondary leads both Clay Sanderson and Maggie Portman charmed and had the audience eating out of their hands. Ms. Portman who usually can be seen as a leading lady in such serious pop operas as “Evita” and “Chess” shows that she can float though comedy with as much assurance as she does on “The Love of My Life.” A special mention must also be made for Brandon Moorhead who floats though one of my favorite songs “Come to Me, Bend to Me” as smooth The rest of the large ensemble should all take a third bow for their work in this production.

On stage the scenic design of Nick Mozak and the costume design of Ricky Lurie match the rest of this shows high standards of taste and excellence. It made me happy to be able to see the amount of hard work it must have taken to assemble these components on stage and they should both take their bows along with everyone else.

This is a show that hasn't been revived on Broadway in quite some time and even though I do have some reservations about the overall book to the show, I feel that the villagers are too trusting of these strangers right away and I don't know if anything outside of this wonderful town quite works as it should Light Opera Works in every aspect holds up a exemplary list of reasons why this show should be done more often as long as those productions where held to the high standards of there production.

Brigadoon runs at Light Opera Works plays from Sunday, June at 2p,, Wednesday June 8th at 2pm, Friday, June 10th at 8pm, Saturday June 11, at 8pm and Sunday, June 12th at 2pm. It's playing at the Cahn Auditorium at 600 Emerson Street in Evanston IL and tickets can be purchased by either calling (847) 869-6300 or at

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