New Faces Bring Fresh Look and Feel to BRIGADOON

by Patricia Bradford

With bagpipes skirling and kilts twirling, the King of Prussia Players offer a salute to Scottish tunes and tartans with the musical BRIGADOON.

In some ways, the tale of a magical village that comes to life for one day a century is a metaphor for the King of Prussia Players’ production itself. The power of the past is represented by the lively and heartfelt musical penned by writer Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. Longtime King of Prussia Players director Larry Anderson also has a wealth of knowledge to contribute—including his own experience directing BRIGADOON in a 2002 production. That familiarity with BRIGADOON sparked Larry’s desire to take things in a new direction. “I wanted this to be a different production, so the first thing I did was to erase all of my old notations on the script and music and toss my old set design. I wanted to start with a completely blank slate.”

That’s not to say that Larry had no idea of what he wanted. “The two areas I really hoped to reimagine were the dancing and the set.” That led him to another well-seasoned performer, choreographer Tom Blair. Larry explains, “I really wanted Tom to be the choreographer, because I knew he could give the dances—especially the ballets—the same deep feeling that Agnes DeMille gave the original. To take music and plot and somehow create a series of movements that help elevate that story and emotion takes a special talent.”

The set became the brainchild of Dana McGahey. For Larry, “The village of Brigadoon needed a more Impressionist set, one that better reflected the mood of the show. I told Dana I’d like to ‘paint’ the scenes with fabric, and she took the idea and made it her own. There were many, many cast members—and friends and family of cast members—who helped with the sewing and building, but the ideas and drawings are all Dana’s.”

The spark of the new came from two “BRIGADOON auditioners who were invited to join the production staff after demonstrating both interest and aptitude in the behind-the-scenes work that is the backbone of every theater production. Assistant to the Director Cosette Lyncheski and Movement and Dialect Coach Steven Copp did much of the blocking for the group scenes and songs.

“At the auditions,” Larry explains, “Cosette was asking ‘director questions’ rather than ‘actor questions,’ and she brought a fresh pair of eyes to the whole production.” Steven Copp, who also plays the lovelorn Harry, made an impression during the early rehearsals. “I was working with a couple, blocking out a song, when I noticed Steven was fairly dancing in his seat as he watched.”

Having blended his crew of classic and new, Larry was ready to let the mists roll in on BRIGADOON.

BRIGADOON is the tale of two jaded New Yorkers whose vacation in Scotland takes a turn toward the magical. Friends Tommy (David Cox) and Jeff (Clark Van Hekken) get lost in the Highlands and stumble upon the enchanted village of Brigadoon, which comes to life for only one day every 100 years. Love is in the air as the village prepares for the wedding of Charlie (Kai Kasiguran) and Jean (Maggie Eder). Tommy is charmed by the beautiful Fiona (Regina Burgher), while Jeff catches the eye of the flirtatious Meg (Alexis Ross).

But Brigadoon is more prison than paradise for Jean’s jilted suitor, Harry (Steven Copp). His unhappiness puts Brigadoon’s future in jeopardy.

The characters, songs, sets, and choreography of BRIGADOON weave their spell. “You can really get drawn in,” Larry says. “There’s that sense of joy in life and love—that once-in-a-lifetime moment.”

The King of Prussia Players present the musical BRIGADOON March 20, 21, 27, and 28 at 7:30pm and March 22 and 29 at 2pm at Shannondell Performing Arts Theater in Audubon, Pa. Details are available at Reservations are not necessary for tickets at the door, which are $20 for adults, $15 for students 12 and under or seniors 65 and older.

Theater/Organization King of Prussia Players at Shannondell Performing Arts Theater
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Theater/Organization Address: 10000 Shannondell Drive Audubon, Pennsylvania 19403 (Map It)
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