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Forgotten Broadway classics: Brigadoon February 3, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Musicals, Theater.
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Brigadoon album coverMaybe not exactly forgotten, but if all you know of Lerner and Loewe‘s first Broadway hit is the lousy MGM movie or even the disappointing abridged original cast album, check this out.

In 1991, the year after a successful West End production, EMI assembled a dream cast to record the first complete recording. Here’s the overture …

And here’s a synopsis if you need it.

The chorus numbers, in particular, come off much better in superior recorded sound. That’s Judy Kaye as Meg Brockie:

Although the original 1947 production ran for a year and a half and it’s been revived three times on Broadway, none of the revivals lasted more than a few performances. Brent Barrett as Tommy and Rebecca Luker as Fiona:

Virtually the entire cast is American, which is amazing considering how well they got the brogues. John Mark Ainsley as Charlie:

The original cast album is very well performed, but it’s almost an hour shorter. Here, again, are Barrett and Luker:

At the intermission, Harry Beaton has run away, threatening to leave Brigadoon and end the magic that keps the town alive. In yet another number not heard on the OBC album, the second act opens with the Tommy, Jeff and the villagers chasing him:

Any musical would fortunate to have one love duet as memorable as these — Brigadoon has three:

In his book Beautiful Mornin’: The Broadway Musical in the 1940s, Ethan Mordden notes how perfectly Lerner’s escapist book fit the post-Hiroshima age of paranoia and blacklisting. Which is exactly why a good production would be an almost surefire hit on Broadway.


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