Catch “Brigadoon” at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre in Orem Before It Disappears

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

Tickets: $10-14

801-225-2787

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Forever Plaid, Forever Fun at The Covey

By Larisa Hicken

Forever PlaidWhat a fun evening full of laughter and amazing music at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, Utah!  I was excited to see this show because Forever Plaid has long been one of my favorites.  I love the bee-bop sounds of the 50s!  Forever Plaid, an off-Broadway musical revue written by Stuart Ross, is the story of a quartet of young men on their way to harmonic stardom when they are struck by a bus of Catholic school girls and their dreams are brought to an untimely end.

The show they are presenting to the audience is their last chance to perform before they make their way to whatever lies beyond.  While still technically dead, the boys have their voices, bodies, and white dinner jackets – they were on their way to pick up their plaid ones when they were killed.

I have to give a round of applause to directors Sky Cummins and Ben Cummins.  They obviously know how to cast a show and they did a terrific job of using the small space provided.  I could tell that a lot of work was done to develop the history and personalities of the characters.  The music was great – although the harmonies weren’t as tight as they could be at times – but it was the relationships of the actors and the physical movements and humor that really made the show special.  The show also had great pacing and kept me involved the entire time.

My favorite voice of the night was Logan Bradford playing Frankie.  He has a rich, smooth vocal quality that I could listen to for hours.  He also has a great look and I could believe that he had stepped right out of the audio visual club in 1956.

Daniel Fifield, playing Sparky, was by far the most entertaining actor with his various facial expressions and physical humor sending the audience into fits of laughter.  I also felt like his character was the most well-developed.

Smudge, played by Daniel’s brother Jonathan Fifield, was the bass in the quartet and I thoroughly enjoyed his low voice in “Chain Gang.”  I also really enjoyed his confusion of left and right throughout the show.  He rightly stole the spotlight during “Scotland the Brave.”

The character of Jinx was played by Scott Sackett who has an astonishing vocal range.  His high notes were absolutely effortless and I couldn’t believe how long he could sustain it!  It nearly gave me a nose bleed, so I could understand why his character frequently got them.  He is a seriously talented young man and I hope to see a lot more of him in future shows.

forever-plaid2During the show I was grateful that I had chosen to sit on the side near the pianist, Adam Fifield, and bass player, Peter Burnett.  Both musicians were very talented and one of the songs is sung completely around the piano, so make sure you choose a seat on that side if you can.  However, young women sitting on the front row can plan on some serious personal crooning and maybe even a few moments in the spotlight.

The older people in the audience seemed to have the most fun due to the many references to the Ed Sullivan Show and other iconic elements from the 50s.  But the actors had a great connection and excellent comedic timing that kept everyone snickering, chuckling, and even roaring with laughter whether they were 15 like my daughter who came with me or old enough to remember when….  It was truly a splendid night!

LOCATION: Covey Center, 425 W Center St, Provo, UT 84601
DATES: April 17 –  26 @ 7:30 PM and MAY 8 – MAY 17 @ 7:30 PM
PRICES: $12 – $14
Ages 8 and upPlease no babies or babes in arms.