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On Theater: Don't miss 'Brigadoon' while it's here

It's not really true that the musical "Brigadoon" only surfaces at a local theater once every 100 years. It only seems that way sometimes because the show is so seldom produced in our area.

Which is why theatergoers — and particularly fans of Huntington Beach High School's Academy for the Performing Arts — should book a trip to the Scottish highlands at the nearby Rose Center Theater before the show vanishes into the air after this weekend.

The APA is well represented by students and graduates in this marvelous independently produced revival of the Lerner-Loewe classic under the direction of APA (and Rose Center) director Tim Nelson, who has had the good sense to cast the best available actor-singer in the Gene Kelly role — himself.

Nelson's strong vocal presence meshes splendidly with the glorious soprano voice of Melissa Cook as the Scottish lassie who's stuck with her townspeople in the 18th century. Their duet "There But for You Go I" late in the show will melt the hardest of hearts.

The cast amassed by Nelson, who also serves as musical director, and choreographers Diane Makas and Jennifer Simpson-Matthews is an impressive ensemble

Particularly effective are Vince Aniceto as Nelson's caustic American traveling companion and Mary Murphy-Nelson as the hot-blooded lass who pursues him. It's just a pity that Murphy-Nelson wasn't given the opportunity to sing the rousing but bawdy "My Mother's Wedding Day," which might have stopped the show.

Kyle Selig, a top-notch APA graduate, excels as the exuberant Charlie Dalrymple, whose wedding to his bonnie Jean (the lovely, balletic Hayleigh Green) touches off a firestorm. The death of the instigator of this conflict (a brooding Garrett Brown, another fine APA product) is handled ambiguously offstage, unlike its clearer staging in the 1954 movie.

Strong support in the seasoned ranks is delivered by Cliff Senior as the village guru, Dale Jones as the bride's gruff father, Mike Bower as the groom's bouncy papa and Chris Caputo as the rebel's saddened dad.

Brown joins Quinn Nagle and Brion Kerry in an energetic sword dance which turns from delightful to dangerous. Lila Bassior is fine as Nelson's back-home sweetie who "canna" compete with a lass from the past. The show's only real drawback is the Rose Center's still-scratchy sound system.

An aptly christened Piper Fahrney lends an authentic air during several bagpipe solos. Choreographers Makas and Simpson-Matthews have injected some energetic folk dance numbers into the show, elegantly costumed by Kim Caputo, while scenic designer Chris Caputo has fashioned a beautifully rendered 3D forest backdrop.

Like the village itself, "Brigadoon" doesn't come around that often and should be seen when the opportunity arises — especially as handsome a production as this one.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Independent.

If You Go

What: "Brigadoon"

Where: Rose Center Theater, 14140 All American Way, Westminster

When: Closing performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $17 to $22

Call: (714) 793-1150, ext. 1

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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