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History of Musical Theater
Dr. Tim Baxter-Ferguson
September 16, 2017
Reader Log Outline
Musical Title: Brigadoon
Music: Frederick Loewe
Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner
Book: Alan Jay Lerner
Performance History:
The original Broadway production opened on March 13, 1947 with choreography by Agnes de
Mille (following the success of Oklahoma) and directed by Robert Lewis. It opened in the
Ziegfield Theatre and ran for 581 performances. It starred David Brooks as Tommy and Marion
Bell as Fiona. Other notable revivals include the Summertime Light Operas production in
Houston, Texas where David Brooks reprised his role as Tommy. It was revived on Broadway in
1957, once again choreographed by de Mille, and again in 1963. The 1963 revival was also
choreographed by de Mille. Though the 1963 revival only ran for 16 performances, it was Tony-
nominated for Best Actress in a Musical (for Sally Ann Howes as Fiona), Best Direction of a
Musical and Best Conductor and Musical Director. The next Broadway revival was in 1980
again choreographed by De Mille. In 2014 it was revived again at the Goodman Theater in
Chicago. Another revival is planned to be staged at the New York City Center in 217, with Kelli
OHara as Fiona and Stephanie J. Block as Meg.
Critical Reception:
Critics praised the musicals originality and integration of book and musical. The New York
Times Brook Atkinson said "for once, the modest label "musical play" has a precise meaning. For it is
impossible to say where the music and dancing leave off and the story begins. Under Bob Lewis's
direction all the arts of the theatre have been woven into a singing pattern of enchantment. The
choreography was particularly praised. Brook Atkinson went on to say "Some of the dances are merely
illustrations for the music. One or two of them are conventional, if lovely, maiden round dances. But
some of them, like the desperate chase in the forest, are fiercely dramatic. The funeral dance to the dour
tune of bagpipes brings the footstep of doom into the forest. And the sword dance, done magnificently by
James Mitchell, is tremendously exciting with its stylization of primitive ideas.
Though the dances were praised, John Chapman of the Daily News said "just when I get
pleasantly steamed up about the love of Mr. Brooks and Miss Bell, I don't want to be cooled off by
watching a herd of gazelles from Chorus Equity running around. Other than this gripe, however, the
dances were one of the most praised aspects of the show, and how well the dance and music were
integrated into plot.
Memorable Quotes:
What a day this has been!
What a rare mood I'm in!
Why, it's almost like being in love
This song is especially memorable because it's just one of those standards that came out of the
musical that everyone knows. It was covered by many artists over the years, including Frank Sinatra.
Harry Beaton! Harry Beaton!
Run an' get 'im! Get 'im!
Run an' get 'im! Get 'im!
This song is and quote is memorable to me just because of the tone and mood of the song. It felt
so dark and different than the rest of the musical that it caught me off guard, so it was particularly
memorable to me.
Brigadoon opens with tourists Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas out in the Scottish Highlands
on vacation. They get lost their first night and come across the village of Brigadoon, which doesnt appear
on their maps.The locals of Brigadoon include: Jean, who is marrying Charlie Dalrymple, Harry Beaton,
who is in love with Jean, Fiona, Jeans older sister who is waiting for the right man, and Meg Brockie,
who has been on more than a few romps in the hay. Tommy, who is engaged to be married back in New
York, falls in love with Fiona.
After, while getting ready for the wedding, Tommy discovers that all the events listed in the
family Bible are listed as happening 200 years ago. They go to local schoolmaster, Mr. Lundie, and are
told the truth. 200 years ago the minister prayed to God to have Brigadoon disappear every night and
reappear every 100 years. If anyone leaves the town, the town will disappear forever. If an outsider falls
in love with someone in Brigadoon, however, he can choose to stay and be part of the town.
At the wedding, everything seems to be going well until Harry Beaton shows up and, in anguish
over Jeans wedding, announces that hes leaving the town which will cause the town to disappear.
The townspeople chase after Harry, who is then accidentally killed by Jeff. The townsfolk decide
to keep it a secret from the rest of the town until the next morning, not wanting to spoil the wedding night.
The townsfolk dance and rejoice, until Harrys father brings Harry on and the bagpipes play a funeral
Tommy tells Jeff he wants to stay in Brigadoon, but Jeff convinces him that Brigadoon is only a
dream and he should leave. Tommy does leave, and 4 months later finds himself a drunken mes. He
decides to go back to the Scottish Highlands with Jeff to just see where Brigadoon used to be. His love for
Fiona allows him to go back to Brigadoon and see Fiona again.

1. Give up everything for the things you love: In order to stay with his love Fiona, Tommy is
forced to give up everything about his former life. This is okay, however, because his former
life is shown to be empty and meaningless and his life with his love is what will truly make
him happy. Also, the minister of the town was forced to disappear from his life in Brigadoon
in order to bless the town and protect all the ones he loves.
2. Love transcends time: Although the town had disappeared already for hundreds of years,
Tommy was able to find his was back to Brigadoon because the power of love helped him
return. True love will always prevail, even if years have gone by. One will always find their
way back to true love.
3. The juxtaposition of fantasy and reality and the choice one has to make: The world of
Brigadoon is utterly fantastical. It exists outside of time. Its a simple life. Tommy must
choose between the harsh reality of his real life or the glittering fantasy of the world of
Brigadoon. Jeff gives voice to this choice, and convinces Tommy to face reality, at first. This,
however, is only momentary, as Tommy runs back to the dream world. Theres a line that
Lundie says: There mus be lots of folks out here whod like a Brigadoon. This had to have
rang true for the theater audience at the time, who were just a few years out of World War II
and close to the Cold War. It still rings true today. Do we abandon reality to live our
happiness or face reality and live the best way one can? The musical would say live your
happiness, even if it isnt real.
This musical deserves its place in history, because it helped solidify the trend of full book and
music integration of the musical. Brigadoon follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, Oklahoma and
Carousel, and kept up the trend of full integration of boo and musical. They even hired Agnes DeMille
after her success with the choreography of Oklahoma.
The musical also deserves its place because of the originality of the plot and musical. The book
really took things to a new level with amazing and fully fleshed out characters.

Reader Response:
I really did love this musical. It is probably my favorite out of all the shows weve read for this
class thus far. I loved the score, it was much better than Showboat. It was distinct and had a specific
voice. The book was great. It actually had a fleshed out plot, even compared to Anything Goes. It's not the
most diverse show, but at least it isnt racist in any way that was perceivable to me. Its themes rang
through, and it ended on a poignant note that stuck with me. It made me feel something and made me