Tuesday, March 13, 2007


March 13th marks the 60th anniversary of one of the grandest musicals ever written. That musical is of course "Brigadoon" written by Lerner & Lowe. These gentleman also gave the world "My Fair Lady" and "Gigi". The original musical played only five hundred and eighty-five performances-- a pittance by today's standards, but it's magical score including the classic song "Almost Like Being In Love" will continue to be sung for decades to come.Lerner's story was based on a much older German story by Friedrich Gerstäcker about the magical and thus mythical, German village of Germelshausen that fell under an evil, magic curse. In 1947, memories of the second World War were too fresh to present a German-themed musical on Broadway, so Lerner and Lowe reimagined the story in Scotland, complete with kilts, bonnie lassies, bagpipes, Highland flings and "Heather on the Hill". Lerner's name for his imaginary locale was probably based on a well-known Scottish landmark, the Brig o' Doon (Bridge of Doon), in Alloway, Scotland, in the heart of Robert Burns country. According to Burns' poem Tam o'Shanter, this 13th century stone bridge is where the legendary Tam o' Shanter fled on his horse Meg in order to escape from three witches who were chasing him."Brig" is a common Lowland Scots word, meaning "bridge". It occurs in several English versions of Scottish placenames, e.g. "Brig O' Turk".Other sources suggest that "Brigadoon" was constructed from the Gaelic words: briga which means "strife" or "hill", and dùn which means "hill, hill fort, or hill village." The name may also be a reference to the Celtic Goddess Brigid as in "Brigid's Hill." The original Broadway production, directed by Robert Lewis. It starred David Brooks as Tommy, Marion Bell as Fiona, Lee Sullivan as Charlie, James Mitchell as Harry, and Pamela Britton as Meg. It shared a Tony Award for Agnes de Mille's choreography . It also won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, and has had many well-received revivals over the years. It remains one of my all time favorite scores.

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