Love and magic: ‘Brigadoon’ takes audience to a mystical village in Scotland
by Jelena Anderson
Special to The Star
Feb 17, 2013 | 4882 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Madison Baldwin as Jean MacLaren, far left, Meg Griffin as Fiona MacLaren and Adam Pickren as Harry Beaton star in the Jacksonville State University production of ‘Brigadoon.’ Photo: Randal Blades/JSU Drama
Madison Baldwin as Jean MacLaren, far left, Meg Griffin as Fiona MacLaren and Adam Pickren as Harry Beaton star in the Jacksonville State University production of ‘Brigadoon.’ Photo: Randal Blades/JSU Drama
A mystical story of love, magic and faith in the impossible is coming to the stage at Jacksonville State University. Between Feb. 21 and March 3, 23 cast members from the drama and music departments are bringing the Scottish Highlands to Alabama with their spring musical “Brigadoon.”

The story by Alan Jay Lerner with music by Frederick Loewe is about two lost hunters who suddenly come across a mystical village that is not marked on their maps and only appears for one day every 100 years. The villagers are getting ready for a wedding and the two visitors, Jeff and Tommy, are quickly getting pulled into the preparations as well.

In the midst of everything, Tommy, played by 24-year-old Cody Harrell, falls in love with a girl from the village, Fiona, played by 25-year-old Meg Griffin. But as the day comes to an end, the two are faced with tough decisions.

Director Eric Traynor wanted to do a more classic, old-school Broadway piece this year, to show a contrast to the performances of recent years. But the music of this particular piece made the decision for “Brigadoon” quite easy.

“There are amazing lyrical ballads, many of which people will recognize,” said Traynor.

Authentic Scottish dances — choreographed by Thomas Dewayne Barrett — tartans and kilts underline the unique Scottish setting of this romantic musical from the writers of “My Fair Lady,” featuring songs like “Come to Me, Bend to Me,” “Almost Like Being in Love” and “The Heather on the Hill.”

“It just has a magical, mystical feeling about it,” Traynor said.

For Meg Griffin it was also the music, under direction of Jeremy Stovall and Eric Traynor, that inspired her to go after the roll of Fiona.

“The music is amazing and I love the songs I get to do,” she said.

Katie Daniels plays Meg, another village girl, who also finds herself attracted to one of the visitors and is struggling with her very own love story. “Brigadoon” will be Daniels’ last performance at JSU, as she graduated with a bachelor’s in theater in December. She first fell in love with the character of Meg when she saw the 1954 movie starring Gene Kelly.

“The character is just full of life and fun. I worked hard to get that part,” said Daniels. “I’m sad that this will be my last time on the JSU stage, but I have to move on with my life and move away from home at some point.”

Harrell can relate to the way Daniels feels. He will be graduating from JSU in May. That was also what drew him to his role, as he feels that Tommy doesn’t feel at peace with himself or his environment.

“He is from New York,” said Harrell, “but he finally felt at home in Brigadoon.”

According to Harrell, every college student has a minor existential crisis at some point, and with him leaving the state in a few months to pursue his performance career, he can feels a little lost at times, just like the character he plays.

“Brigadoon” can be seen at the Earnest Stone Performing Arts Center of the Jacksonville State University, Feb. 21-24, and Feb. 28-March 3, Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

The cost of admission is $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and JSU personnel, and $10 for students, children and military. For tickets call 256-782-5648.

Jelena Anderson is a freelance writer in Wellington.
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