the 1947 Broadway Premiere of Brigadoon
"The mist of May is in the gloamin', and all the clouds are holdin' still, So take my hand and let's go roamin' through the heather on the hill." ~ The Heather on the Hill, Brigadoon, Lerner and Loewe, 1947
Brigadoon is a musical with a book, lyrics, and music by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe from the Golden Age of Musical Theater. The fantasy story involves two American tourists who stumble upon Brigadoon, a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every 100 years. Renowned choreographer Agnes DeMille incorporated elements of traditional Scottish folk dance: a highland sword dance, a dance chase scene, and a funeral dance. Unfortunately, the popular film adaptation of 1954 dropped many of these. The term "brigadooning" and variants began to appear in social commentary during the 1960s to reference a simplistic and over-romanticization of Scottish culture. Interestingly, the film was responsible for an intense post-war surge of the use of tartan and plaid in fashion which continues to this day!
Today marks the premiere of the Broadway musical "Brigadoon" which opened in 1947 and ran for 581 performances.
One of several tartans for fictional places, the Brigadoon tartan is linked to the namesake play from the golden age of theater, with music and lyrics by Lerner and Lowe, and choreography by Agnes DeMille.
Brigadoon tells the story of Americans Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas, on a hunting vacation in Scotland, who discover a quaint and beautiful village, Brigadoon. Strangely, the village is not on any map, and soon Tommy and Jeff find out why: Brigadoon is an enchanted place. It appears once every hundred years for one day, then disappears back into the mists of time, to wake up to its next day a century later. When Tommy falls in love with Fiona, a girl of the village, he realizes that she can never be part of his life back in America. He wonders if he could be part of hers in Brigadoon.
Most people are familiar with the 1954 movie version with Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly; however, you may also remember a different TV version from 1966 that included amongst other music and scenes not included in the film version, a sword dance performed by ballet dancer, Edward Villella.
Click the Broadway poster for more about the original stage play.