This Day in the Arts — March 13 in Broadway Musicals History

March 12, 2013

Abgerissene Tage eines KalendersToday, not only am I celebrating the anniversary of the opening of a delightfully whimsical Broadway musical, I’m also (stealthily) celebrating the birthday of a writer friend.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, who went on to write such classics of the Broadway stage as Paint Your Wagon, My Fair Lady, and Camelot, brought a tiny Scottish village to life for 581 performances (not just one every one hundred years) beginning on March 13, 1947 when Brigadoon opened at the Zeigfeld Theatre on Broadway.

Some might find the basic storyline of Brigadoon to be a little farfetched – two American tourists happen to stumble upon an enchanted (and enchanting) Scottish village the one day out of every one hundred years that it is visible to the mortal eye. However, I’m sure my birthday-celebrating and world-traveling friend would attest to the fact that you never know what might happen when you travel to another country.

Lerner and Loewe created some wonderful, memorable songs for this production. Come to Me, Bend to Me, evocative of love in its early, yearning stages, is a complete contrast to the energy and celebration of Almost Like Being in Love. Another song, although a love song, also celebrates the deliciously wild landscape of Brigadoon’s surroundings, and it speaks of the sort of environment that my birthday friend loves to find herself in:

“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 mornin’ dew is blinkin’ yonder. There’s lazy music in the rill,
And all I want to do is wander through the heather on the hill.”

Brigadoon not only was a hit on Broadway, it opened in London’s West End in 1949 and ran for 685 performances, and there have been numerous revivals and amateur productions in the years since. The last Broadway revival was in 1980.

I was delighted to learn that the production is being updated for today’s audience, while still retaining the heart and spirit of the original (with the wholehearted agreement of Liza Lerner, daughter of Alan Jay). It will open in Chicago in 2014 – and who knows, my friend may get to see it on Broadway some day!

Happy anniversary, Brigadoon!  Happy birthday, Joanna!

4 People reacted on this

  1. Thank you so much, Beth. And what an honour to mentioned in the same post as such luminaries as Lerner and Loewe! When you write about all these splendid shows, it makes me wish we had had the opportunity to see them on Broadway. It is indeed so exciting that Brigadoon is making a return to the stage! I have most certainly always found this tale most credible!

    1. You are so welcome, Joanna! It is a delight to celebrate your birthday. You are a luminary in your own right — I bet Lerner and Loewe’s birthdays have never been celebrated on Happy Birthday Author! Hope your day is wonderful, and hope that one day you’ll see Brigadoon appear on Broadway!

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