"Brigadoon" by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
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Brigadoon is a musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. Songs from the musical, such as "Almost Like Being in Love" have become standards. The story involves two American tourists who stumble upon Brigadoon, a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years. Tommy, one of the tourists, falls in love with Fiona, a young woman from Brigadoon.

Synopsis

Act I

New Yorkers Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas have traveled to the Scottish Highlands on a game-hunting vacation, only to get lost their first night out. They begin to hear music ("Brigadoon") coming from a nearby village; strangely, the village does not appear on their map of the area. Tommy and Jeff decide to visit it to get directions back to their inn. In the town, a fair has begun ("McConnachy Square"). The villagers are dressed in traditional Scottish tartan. Andrew MacLaren and his daughters arrive at the fair to purchase supplies for the wedding of younger daughter Jean to Charlie Dalrymple. Harry Beaton is madly in love with Jean and is depressed at the thought of her marrying another. One of the girls asks Fiona, Jean's older sister, when she will get married, and she says she is waiting for the right person ("Waitin' For My Dearie").

Tommy and Jeff wander into the village, and when they ask where they are, the villagers tell them "Brigadoon". Fiona invites the Americans to have a meal and rest at the MacLarens' home. Meg Brockie, a flirtatious dairy maid, immediately takes a liking to Jeff and leads him off. Charlie Dalrymple appears, rejoicing in his impending nuptials. He shares a drink with Tommy, toasting to a Mr. Forsythe whom he thanks for "postponing the miracle". Tommy asks what he means by this, but Fiona shushes him and leads him away as Charlie celebrates the end of his bachelorhood ("Go Home with Bonnie Jean"). Tommy tells Fiona about his impending marriage to his fiancée Jane in New York; Tommy is in no hurry to marry Jane, and Fiona reveals that she likes Tommy very much. Fiona goes to gather heather for the wedding, and Tommy insists on going with her ("The Heather on the Hill"). Meanwhile, Meg takes Jeff to a place in the forest with a shack and a cot. She tells him she's "highly attracted" to him, but he spurns her advances, wanting only sleep. She reflects on her unusual love-life ("The Love Of My Life").

In the MacLaren home, Jean's friends help her pack her things to move into Charlie's home ("Jeannie's Packin' Up"). Charlie arrives to sign the MacLaren family Bible. He wants to see Jean, but he is told it is bad luck to see her on the wedding day. He begs for her to come out anyway ("Come to Me, Bend to Me"). Tommy and Fiona return with a basket full of heather, and Fiona goes upstairs to help Jean dress for the wedding. Jeff arrives wearing a pair of Highland trews (trousers); apparently his own pants have been damaged on a "thistle". Jeff finds that Tommy is so happy that he can barely contain it ("Almost Like Being In Love"). Tommy notices that all the events listed in the family Bible, including Jean's wedding, are listed as if they had happened two hundred years earlier. He asks Fiona why this is so, and she tells him that he needs to see the schoolmaster, Mr. Lundie, to get the full explanation.

Fiona, Tommy, and Jeff arrive at Mr. Lundie's home, where he relates a story that the two New Yorkers can hardly believe: to protect Brigadoon from being changed by the outside world, two hundred years ago, the local pastor prayed to God to have Brigadoon disappear, only to reappear for one day every 100 years. None of the people of Brigadoon can be permitted to leave the town, or it will disappear forever. Tommy asks hypothetically if an outsider could be permitted to stay. Mr. Lundie replies, "A stranger can stay if he loves someone here - not jus' Brigadoon, mind ye, but someone in Brigadoon - enough to want to give up everythin' an' stay with that one person. Which is how it should be. 'Cause after all, lad, if ye love someone deeply, anythin' is possible."[9]

The group leaves to go to the wedding, which opens with the clans coming in from the hills. Mr. Lundie marries Charlie and Jean, and they perform a traditional wedding-dance to celebrate. Sword dancers appear, led by Harry, and they perform an elaborate dance over their weapons. All the town joins in the dance, but it abruptly halts when Jean screams as Harry tries to kiss her. In anguish over Jean's wedding, he announces that he's leaving the town (which would end the miracle, causing Brigadoon to disappear forever into the Highland mists) and sprints away.

Act II

The men of the town, including Tommy and a reluctant Jeff, frantically try to find Harry before he can depart the town ("The Chase"). Suddenly an agonized scream is heard. Harry, who appears to have fallen on a rock and crushed his skull, is found dead by the other men. They decide not to tell the rest of the town until the next morning. The men carry Harry's body away. Fiona and her father arrive to see if everything is all right. As Mr. MacLaren leaves, Tommy sees Fiona, and they embrace. She reveals her love for him, and he tells her he believes he feels the same way ("There But For You Go I"). Fiona reminds him that the end of the day is near, and Tommy tells her he wants to stay in Brigadoon with her. They go to find Mr. Lundie.

Meanwhile, in the village, Meg tells about the day her parents were drunkenly married ("My Mother's Wedding Day") and the townsfolk dance until the sound of highland pipes pierces the air. Archie Beaton enters carrying Harry's body, led by the pipers playing a pìobaireachd. Maggie Anderson, who loved Harry, performs a funeral dance for her unrequited love. The men of Brigadoon help Archie carry his son to the burial place.

Tommy finds Jeff and tells him of his plans to stay. Jeff thinks the idea absurd and argues with Tommy until he has convinced him that Brigadoon is only a dream. Jeff also reveals that he tripped Harry and accidentally killed him. Fiona and Mr. Lundie arrive, and Tommy, shaken by Jeff's confession, tells Fiona that even though he loves her, he cannot stay; he still has doubts ("From This Day On"). Fiona tells Tommy that she will love him forever as she fades away into the darkness.

Four months later, Jeff is drinking heavily at a hotel bar in New York. Tommy enters and greets Jeff. Tommy is still in love with Fiona and cannot stop thinking about her. His fiancée Jane Ashford, a beautiful socialite, talks to him about their impending wedding, but everything she says causes him to hear Fiona's voice and dream of Brigadoon ("Come to Me, Bend to Me" (reprise) and "Heather on the Hill" (reprise)). Tommy tells Jane that he cannot marry her, and she argues with him, but he continues to daydream about his true love ("Go Home With Bonnie Jean" (reprise) and "From This Day On" (reprise)). Jane leaves, and Tommy tells Jeff that he wants to return to Scotland, although he knows the village will not be there.

Tommy and Jeff return to the spot where they found Brigadoon and, as they expected, see nothing there. Tommy laments, "Why do people have to lose things to find out what they really mean?" Just as he and Jeff turn to leave, they hear the music again ("Brigadoon"), and Mr. Lundie appears. Tommy walks across the bridge in a daze to him, as Mr. Lundie explains: "Oh it's you Tommy, lad. You woke me up. You must really love her", to which Tommy, still dazed, stammers "Wha- how….?" and Mr. Lundie replies, "You shouldna be too surprised, lad. I told ye when ye love someone deeply enough, anythin' is possible. Even miracles." Tommy waves goodbye to Jeff and disappears with Mr. Lundie into the highland mist to be reunited with Fiona.

Musical Numbers

Characters

  • Tommy Albright
  • Jeff Douglas
  • Archie Beaton
  • Harry Beaton
  • Fishmonger
  • Angus MacGuffie
  • Sandy Dean
  • Andrew MacLaren
  • Fiona MacLaren
  • Jean MacLaren
  • Meg Brockie
  • Charlie Dalrymple
  • Maggie Anderson
  • Mr. Lundie
  • Frank
  • Jane Ashton
  • Bagpiper

Production History

Date Venue Company
Jun 14, 2010 Shubert Theatre
Oct 16, 1980 Majestic Theatre
Jan 30, 1963 New York City Center
Apr 9, 1957 Adelphi Theatre
May 2, 1950 New York City Center
Mar 13, 1947 Ziegfeld Theatre
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