They call it “The Blessing,” that one day in each century when the town comes to life.
Everyone in the town knows that time has slowed down for them. They know, too, that if only one person leaves, the town will no longer come to life.
Everything will stop, and Brigadoon will be no more.
This is why things become complicated when Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas accidentally stumble upon Brigadoon on the day of The Blessing.
They’re Americans vacationing in Scotland. They’re lost. And, well, even the audience must do some time traveling at this point, because Tommy and Jeff live in the late 1940s.
That’s the era Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe set their musical, Brigadoon. It was the first they’d written as a team, and it premiered March 13, 1947, in Broadway’s Ziegfield Theatre.
Now it’s set to open on Friday, Aug. 24, in Baton Rouge, when Runnels Community Theatre presents its version of the musical in the Runnels School Auditorium.
“It’s one of my favorite musicals, and I’ve always wanted to do it,” Ann Dalrymple said. “We have the right cast this year, and we have the right voices for it. It was the right time to do it.”
Dalrymple heads the Runnels School’s Drama Department. She also is director of the Runnels Community Theatre’s plays.
She began planning this production last fall. The school’s drama classes designed the sets in the spring, and work began on the sets early in the summer.
And for now, the auditorium is home to the Scottish town of Brigadoon, where the song “Almost Like Being in Love” flows through the aisles and on to the stage.
OK, so the song doesn’t whisk out of nowhere. The show’s orchestra, led by Jill Swetnam, rehearses the song next to the stage.
Still, there’s something magical about it. It’s one of those songs that many immediately recognize but couldn’t have named the show from which it came. Until now.
And the title is a little bit tricky. “Almost Like Being in Love” proves to be true love, which is sometimes complicated.
Well, very complicated when it comes to a town that comes to life only once every 100 years.
In the play, Tommy the tourist meets Fiona, the Brigadoon resident. And Tommy falls in love with Fiona. But Fiona can’t leave, and Tommy doesn’t think he can stay.
So, will true love prevail? If so, how? You’ll have to make a trip to the Runnels School to find out.
“Fiona is a strong woman,” Danielle Adams said.
“She isn’t the kind of person who just wants to end up with someone. She wants to find true love.”
Adams plays Fiona in this production. Playmakers fans will recognize her from her past roles as Pinkalicious and Pippi Longstocking.
Then again, maybe not. Pippi had bright hair, and Pinkalicious’ hair was, well, pink.
“I’m doing this show with my own hair,” Adams said, laughing.
Lance Bordelon, meanwhile, is playing Charlie Dalrymple, who is marrying Fiona’s younger sister, Jean.
In fact, Tommy and Jeff walk into Brigadoon on the couple’s wedding day.
“Charlie is the image and likeness of Brigadoon,” Bordelon said.
Local theater-goers will recognize Bordelon from past roles at Baton Rouge Little Theater and Ascension Community Theatre.
“I wasn’t familiar with Brigadoon before doing the production,” Bordelon said.
He hadn’t even watched Vincente Minnelli’s 1954 film version of the musical starring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson and Cyd Charisse. But he learned that he was familiar with at least one of the musical’s songs.
“That one,” Bordelon said, laughing, pointing to the orchestra, still in the middle of its run-through of “Almost Like Being in Love.”
With that said, it was time for rehearsal to begin, time for The Blessing to begin.