Monday, January 08, 2001


"With true love anything is possible--even miracles,” says Mr. Lundie, the wise old philosopher of Brigadoon (played with much dignity by Tim O’Laughlin). And therein lies the message Davis Musical Theatre’s production of the Lerner and Loewe musical, currently delighting audiences at the Varsity Theatre, through January 28th.

Director Steve Isaacson has created a sprightly, sparkling production, which moves at a steady clip and draws the audience in from the opening strains of the backstage chorus.

Isaacson has assembled a strong cast headed by Jaime Tvrdik as Tommy Allbright, the American who stumbles across the magical Scottish town of Brigadoon on the one day in 100 when it comes to life. Tvrdik, who bears an uncanny resemblance to David Letterman, is making his DMTC debut and is welcome addition to the company.

Tommy falls in love with the village lass Fiona McLaren (wonderfully played by Amanda Duran). Their duets, some of the more memorable Lerner & Loewe music (“It’s Almost Like Being In Love” and “The Heather on the Hill”) are outstanding.

Comic relief is provided by Tommy’s heavy-drinking pal Jeff Douglas, played by DMTC veteran Ben Breuning and by Meg Brockie, the lusty wench who sets her tam-o-shanter for him. What Jan Isaacson, as Meg, lacks vocally she makes up for in enthusiasm and energy, though she probably would have been better off not attempting a Scottish accent.

(For the most part, the accents used by the rest of the cast sounded authentic to an American ear and were carried consistently throughout the show.)

Supporting players were generally excellent. Dena Lozano is a sweet Jean McLaren, preparing for her wedding to Charlie Dalrymple (Seth Arnopole). Arnopole has a steady tenor, though his “Bonnie Jean” could have used a bit more volume.

Chris Garcia is the Hapless Harry Beaton, who threatens to leave Brigadoon and cause the town to disappear forever. His fight with Tommy stretches credibility a bit (Tommy can knock him down several times, but apparently can’t reach his arm to hold on to him long enough for the others to help bring him back to town), but it’s a minor point.

Dave Mauck as Angus MacGregor, Bruce Wallace as Archie Beaton, and Cliff Wood as Sandy each give strong performances (and special recognition should go to Brian McCann who, while not given a character name in the program, has several small solos and is outstanding).

A decided highlight of this production is the choreography by Amanda Duran. Program notes indicate that this is Duran’s first attempt at choreography and the professional results she has achieved would indicate that she has a real talent for the job. The dances were imaginative and the dancers well drilled. Particularly noteworthy was the sword dance, performed by Chris Garcia, Cliff Wood and Marc Valdez.

The DMTC orchestra was in fine form, and the addition of bagpiper Liz Steuber for the funeral of Harry Beaton was particularly effective.

Jean Henderson’s costumes give the right taste of an 18th century Scottish village, and the parade of tartans was a colorful display.

Set design was by Ron Easley and lighting design by Mark Allen.

At the end of Brigadoon’s day, Tommy must decide if he’s willing to risk all to stay with Fiona, or return to his own life and his fiancee (Noel Breuning) in New York and give her up forever. "It's the hardest thing in the world to give up everything...but sometimes it's the only way to get everything," advises Mr. Lundie. Tommy’s ultimate decision proves indeed that “with love all things are possible.”

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