Playbill is reporting that a revival of the classic Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical, Brigadoon, is headed for Broadway. However, this is a “revisal” rather than a straight revival of the show, which was last seen on Broadway in the 1980/1981 season. From the article:
Bill Haber and Liza Lerner (Alan Jay Lerner’s daughter) are the producers attached to the revival, which has a new book by John Guare, based on lyricist-librettist Alan Jay Lerner’s 1947 original, about two American hunters in Scotland who happen upon a centuries-old Scottish village — which is still stuck in the old days.
The New York Post previously reported that Guare’s new book reinvents Brigadoon as “a pacificist town that ‘disappeared’ in 1939 because its inhabitants didn’t want to live in a world torn apart by war.”
OK. The first thing that strikes me is the idea that Brigadoon disappeared in 1939. In the original version of the show, the town disappeared 200 years ago – in other words, during the 18th century – and appeared for one day every 100 years. Shortening the timespan in which the town appears and disappears starts meddling with things that are fundamental to the concept of the show and which would – I think – be better left alone.
But perhaps the information provided here isn’t comprehensive enough to make such a definitive assumption. Maybe it is only the latest appearance/disappearance of the village that takes place in 1939, which would mean that the village disappeared in 1739 and had returned once before in 1839. If Tommy and Jeff discover Brigadoon in 1939, are the stakes heightened for the characters when it comes to their respective motivations to stay or return to the real world, which is about to be hurled headlong into World War II?
But later in the Playbill article, the writers point up a contradiction between the description quoted above and what appears in the casting notice:
But the casting notice characterizes the production this way: “Vivid re-imagining of the classic 1947 production; new production with a revised book. Story of Tommy and Jeff, two modern-day American travelers, who stumble back in time to a village in 18th-century Scotland.”
“Stumble back in time”? Will this Brigadoon feature actual time-travel?!!
Until things become clearer, its hard to draw any real conclusions about this proposed revival of the show. If the Guare time shift aligns with World War II in the way I think it might rather than being a straight change of the time period, then the revisal might prove to be quite interesting. Time will tell…