8/11/2014 10:58:49 AM

  • My wife Kathleen and I saw the 2pm matinee yesterday, 8/10/14, of "Brigadoon." I have a number of thoughts, for what they're worth: 1) Overall: wonderful, wonderful production. I'm a semi-retired church musician (organist, pianist, choir-director), and have worked with some superb singers over the years: what I heard onstage yesterday: the best of the best. Kevin Earley ("Tommy") and Jennie Sophia ("Fiona"): glorious. Virtually all the actors (with the odd exception of the violinist who occasionally appeared unhappily wandering the stage in ensemble numbers) seemed to enter deeply into their roles. 2) Touching: the script's bottom line was, for me: that Love can work miracles. I suspect many of us feel we've seen the proof of that in our own lives. The actors brought that to life. And my wife and I walked out feeling genuinely touched. 3) Current. I read in the program notes that Rachel Rockwell and Brian Hill had refurbished "Brigadoon's book, freshening the story…" I thought I caught some of those changes in several spots, among them, the reference to the destruction of an entire people/culture. My mind immediately leapt to the Holocaust 70 years ago; to the "potential genocide of the Yazidis" (today's Chgo Trib) going on right now in Iraq. 4) Intelligibility: most of the soloists' lyrics I could understand well (we were sitting on the right-hand side, 3 rows from the front). Great body-micing! The exception: the comic lyrics of the somewhat-short red-headed actress (Maggie Portman playing "Meg Brockie?). I thought she was a delightful on-stage persona, with a great voice. But her pieces were taken at such a fast clip, with the lyrics sometimes being buried beneath the orchestration, that I had a hard time understanding more than 30% of what she was singing. A true loss, because I suspected her lyrics were well-crafted. And some of the ensemble's lyrics were also "lost in the mix." 5) There was one dance-sequence that my wife and I both felt seemed a bit overlong and which somehow didn't ring quite true: that of "Harry's" admirer (I believe it was "Jane," played by Emily Rohm). The sequence came (spoiler-alert!) just after Harry's death, when the young newly-bereft woman dances with a scarf. I would have gone for shorter choreography, less ballet-like, that truly bespoke her grief. 6) Accents: in general, well done! My wife said she'd read in the program-notes that the Goodman had hired a dialect-coach for the actors. If so, kudos to the Goodman for striving for accuracy. And kudos to the actors: by and large, their accents sounded authentic, and yet their dialogue was intelligible. 7) Staging: I loved being up close. But in some ways, I wished we were sitting a bit further back--just to catch the overall effect of the distant mountains, the forest thru the curtains, the rainstorm. Brilliant effects! THESE OBSERVATIONS are meant merely as one person's suggestions for improvement. Again, overall, a marvelous production. As someone whose grandparents and great-grandparents came from England, Ireland, and Scotland, I felt personally moved. And found myself talking in a Scottish burr the rest of the day (a behavior amplified by our watching the premier of "Outlander" [set in 1743 Scotland] later last night). Thanks to the entire cast & production-staff: we had a grand time!