Valentine’s Day may be over, but love is still in the air... at least onstage at Jacksonville State University.
The JSU drama department is opening this semester with the musical “Brigadoon” on Thursday. On Feb. 21through Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 through March 2 the play will be performed at 7 p.m. in the Ernest Stone Performing Arts Center. On Feb. 24 and March 3 the play will be performed at 2 p.m.
According to Eric Traynor, “Brigadoon” is “a love story primarily.”
The musical tells the story of Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas, New York natives, who stumble on a village in the Scottish Highlands. This village is Brigadoon.
Brigadoon is not a normal village though; due to a deal made with God, Brigadoon ages one day while the rest of the world ages a hundred years as long as the inhabitants don’t leave. The people in Brigadoon still look and act like they are from 200 years ago. While there, Tommy begins to fall in love with a local, Fiona. Unfortunately, Tommy is already engaged to a girl back in New York. He faces the tough decision of leaving to go back home to his fiancé or staying in Brigadoon with Fiona. However, if he chooses to leave he can’t come back, since the village only appears once every one hundred years.
Cody Harrell, who is playing Tommy in the play, says, “He is a little withdrawn. He doesn’t talk about his feelings much, but he can be really suave too. I am excited for them [the audience] to see those different dynamics.”
The drama department has been working on “Brigadoon” since January 7. The crew has worked to make traditional Scottish costumes, meaning kilts. Harrell, whose character is from New York, says, “I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to wear a kilt.”
The crew has been working with a choreographer to learn traditional Scottish dances for some of the musical numbers. There will even be an authentic sword dance. It was especially hard work for the cast, few of which have had dance training. Katie Daniels, who plays the fun and lovable Meg Brockie, says, “You can really tell that the entire cast has been working really hard to get these dances right.
The cast has even been working with a dialect coach to speak in a Scottish accent. Traynor explained that that he wanted the audience to get the “flavor” of the Scottish culture.
“Brigadoon” is a classical musical play from 1947. It offers a contrast to the plays the drama department has done recently, such as Rent, which is more modern. Traynor says, “For our student’s sake, and for our audience’s, variety and choices makes a lot of sense.”
Since it is an older play, it has a long history. Many of the songs were made popular by famous singers, for example “Almost like Being in Love” was once recorded by Frank Sinatra. Audience members may recognize some of the songs. Like many older works, some of the language may be slightly confusing. Harrell warns, “The language is a little archaic, but back then that was the slang.”