Filichia Features: BRIGADOON: The Romm-Com

Filichia Features: BRIGADOON: The Romm-Com

By Peter Filichia on August 15, 2019

Does the term look incorrectly spelled? That's because you've always seen it as "rom-com."

The shortened term for "romantic comedy" is written with a total of two "m's. However, what we're talking about here is a romantic musical comedy - hence the extra "m" before the hyphen.

Brigadoon is one of the best romm-coms, as was reiterated last week at an excellent amateur production.

According to an urban dictionary, " Romantic comedies are centered around such ideals as a 'true love' that can surmount most obstacles."

That certainly happens in Brigadoon which was Lerner and Loewe's biggest hit -- until they wrote My Fair Lady.

Is Tommy Albright taking a trip to Scotland with his pal Jeff Douglas and not with his fiancée Jane Ashton mostly because he wants to get away from her? As the two men talk, we get the impression that Tommy will wed Jane because they've been going together for so long that now a marriage is expected.

Meanwhile in nearby Brigadoon, Jeanie MacLaren is about to marry Charlie Dalrymple while her older sister Fiona looks on. Many situations such as this have the senior sister utterly depressed because society dictates that she should be the first to wed. And at this point, Fiona doesn't even have a man.

She isn't the least ruffled. Fiona's been "Waiting for My Dearie" and won't just settle into a relationship with a townie just because she's not getting any younger. She'll avoid the type of trap into which Tommy has got himself with Jane.

Brigadoon sports a strong female heroine. Fiona seemed amazing in 1947 when the show originally debuted; she's still impressive now. (Don't forget that Why Do I Think I Am Nothing without a Man? is still in print 37 years after its first publication.)

As soon as the men stumble into Brigadoon it's love at first sight for Tommy and Fiona - a not uncommon rom-com element that's certainly found in romm-coms, too.

But wait! Each knows enough to be cautious. The best they'll admit to what's going through their minds and bodies qualifies as "Almost Like Being in Love."

(It's the score's biggest hit, although "There But For You Go I" and "The Heather on the Hill" still get nods of recognition from audiences.).

Remember that the rom-com definition includes "able to surmount most obstacles." Brigadoon certainly has a unique one; the town comes alive only for one day each 100 years. If even one person leaves Brigadoon, it will disappear, and everyone will die. So Fiona can't leave - which means Tommy will have to stay.

He doesn't - but soon wishes he had. Let's not overlook the second half of the rom-com definition: "After some friction or awkwardness, they declare their love for each other, and the film ends happily."

A romm-com does the same.

Drama teachers love the fact that the smartest person in town is a teacher. He's Mr. Lundie, although this recent production made the character Miss Lundie.

Similarly speaking, when Fiona went to the tailor's to pick up her father's waistcoat, she found Mrs. Beaton instead of Mr. Beaton.

Many romm-coms are "two-couple musicals" in which a "serious" twosome shares the stage with a comic one. So Jeff is pursued by Brigadoonian Meg Brockie. Here's a chance to cast your strongest-voiced actress who knows how to belt home the showstopper. She certainly has one in "The Love of My Life." (Considering Meg's history, the song title's first noun should really be plural.)

Men usually yearn for a woman like Meg. Not Jeff, who's so bored by life that he'd rather sleep on a haystack than make hay on it with her. It's a great part for an actor who doesn't sing because Jeff doesn't have any songs.

Do cast someone with pin-perfect timing, though, for Jeff does get the chance to deliver plenty of witty quips. (When he first sees the Brigadoonians clad in their 18th century clothes, he dryly remarks "Is this the day you take pictures for postcards?")

Brigadoon has always been known for its choreography. Agnes de Mille won a Tony for her dances, including the now-famous one in which she had her dancer place two swords on the ground and hopscotch his way around each quadrant. The dancer in this recent production showed that the lad was mightier than the swords.

So consider staging Brigadoon - a romm-com that will make your audience go "Mmmmmm!" in approval.

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