Although “Brigadoon” was the first Broadway smash of the songwriting team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick “Fritz” Loewe, the duo’s later successes with “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot” have eclipsed the fame of this earlier effort.
Pity that, for this dance-driven melodic fable of a mysterious village in the Scottish highlands that appears once a century is pure enchantment, as the current Music Theater Works production reminds us.
Part of the bad rap that “Brigadoon” gets is the corny and gutted film version set against studio backdrops so obvious that the actors’ shadows can be seen on them. In its essence, however, “Brigadoon” is an intimate love story that just happens to take place over two-hundred-years’ time.
Thankfully, this is something that director Sasha Garritson never loses sight of in this refreshingly traditional production. Despite the presence of big production numbers energetically choreographed by Clayton Cross, it is the memorable characters in the story that take precedence. This is a show where every villager has to be able to sing like an angel for the hushed choral sequences as well as dance as if there were no tomorrow during the show’s festive wedding scene, and the cast is admirably up to the task.
Conor Jordan is making his Music Theater Works debut as Tommy Albright and not only does justice to the score of “Brigadoon,” but he makes a credible journey from cynical city dweller to hopeless romantic. He has great chemistry with his love interest Fiona, played by Sarah Obert, and we totally buy their relationship. But the Sunday matinee I attended, Fiona was painfully overamplified in her vocal climaxes.
Music Theater Works attempted various approaches using the smaller “North” theater at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, but smaller venue does not have to translate to smaller show. Unlike last season’s reduced-forces “Camelot,” this is a larger-than-life full production that spills over into the aisles effectively.
“Brigadoon” at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, on stage through November 12. Tickets available at musictheaterworks.com.