By Angela Dell
Lone bagpiper, James Moyar, stands at the top of the hill at the back of the audience and plays traditional bagpipe music in a kilt and hose before the start of Brigadoon at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre in Orem. This is my first time seeing the original musical written by Lerner and Loewe, so I had zero expectations going in.
For those like me who are not familiar with the show, it follows two Americans, Tommy Albright (Logan Bradford) and Jeff Douglas (Sam Arnold), on vacation in the Scottish Highlands. There they find a magical village that only appears on the earth once every 100 years, unless someone from the village leaves. In which case, the village ceases to exist and the people are lost forever. Tommy falls in love with the beautiful and ever hopeful Fiona (Aubrey Rose Jackson) but must decide to either give up the life he knows back in America or his one true love.
Both Bradford and Jackson absolutely floor the audience with their amazing vocal talent. Bradford’s vocal performance history is extensive and impressive. His acting ability is consistent and dedicated. He gives his character depth and feeling as much while singing as well as delivering dialogue. This being Jackson’s debut performance, I’m absolutely stunned by the amount of talent she delivers. It’s not easy learning and maintaining a Scottish dialect, but she pulls it off superbly. She adds complexity and strength to her character that makes her a far more interesting person to follow onstage. Bradford and Jackson’s multiple duets throughout the show are a complete treat. Their duet “Almost Like Being in Love” is so charming and sweet, I heard audible sighs from the three girls sitting in front of me and my friend.
Arnold’s devotion to his character is extremely apparent. Although his singing talent wasn’t specifically showcased in this production, Arnold is a talented 17-year-old with excellent comedic timing. He plays off his scene partners with a very natural sarcasm and never drops a line. Maggie Warren plays the formidable Meg Brockie, who just can’t seem to leave poor Jeff alone. Warren’s energy is contagious onstage. She gives her all in the song “The Love of my Life” in order to convince the reluctant Jeff Douglas of her suitability as a wife. The scenes with Warren and Arnold are absolutely charming and hilarious with their clashing desires.
The real reason we’re all here is to watch the dashing Charlie Dalrymple (Kyle Hansen) and sweet Jean MacLaren (Elizabeth Crandall) marry. Hansen’s understanding of his character goes beyond this production as he played the same character in a previous production in American Fork. His confidence onstage matches his character’s confidence about life. His character’s relationship with Jean is sweet and exactly what every girl wants in a guy. In the song “Come to me, Bend to me” he sings it with such care and humility, you’re grateful when she comes out and dances around him while he’s blind-folded to give him the assurance he needs when preparing for their wedding. Crandall’s performance shines during her ballet pieces. Her dance during “Come to me, Bend to me” is so sweet and meaningful, in tandem with Hansen’s singing, it makes for a beautiful piece.
This was Christopher Gallacher’s first show choreographing and it was absolutely stunning. He used his background in folk dance to bring out the movement of the villagers in a symmetric and organized display. The ensemble did a marvelous job moving together as well as accomplishing the beautiful and sometimes complicated steps choreographed. Paired with Kelsey Seaver’s costume design, there is a veritable rainbow of color crossing the stage. The set is easily movable and designed to allow for the impressive ensemble to dance, float, or chase across the stage thanks to set designer Shawn M. Mortensen.
Director Jerry Elison is a hometown treasure to the local theater community. His hard work and dedication to this performance shows through as it does for all of his productions. His casting choices, blocking, and vision for the show was thoughtfully made and excellently executed. His devotion to theater shows through in this production.
The theatre is hard to miss sitting right in the middle of SCERA park but as there is construction on the parking lot on the east side of the theatre, parking may be limited so get there early. Also, bring bug spray as there are lots of bugs that come out around Intermission. If you are lucky enough to get seats in Section A or B, you have a white chair provided for you. If you opt to sit in the higher up seats, you can bring a blanket to sit on, your own folding chair, or rent a chair from them for one dollar. I’ve sat in the higher up seats with a blanket, and it was perfectly comfortable. They have concessions that are reasonably priced with an assortment of snacks or the option of getting a slice of Papa John’s pizza or a six-inch sub from Gandolfo’s.
The SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre gives us beautiful music, talented actors, and devoted crew that creates a show that reminds us “when ye love someone deeply enough, anythin’ is possible. Even miracles.”
SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre presents Brigadoon by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner
SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, SCERA Park, 699 State St, Orem, UT 84058
August 4-19 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays 8:00 PM