Theater Review: BRIGADOON (Palm Canyon Theatre)

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by Jason Mannino on September 19, 2023

in Theater-Palm Springs (Coachella Valley),Theater-Regional


Palm Canyon Theater (PCT) launched its 23/24 theater season here in Coachella Valley this past Friday evening with the opening of Lerner and Loewe’s first successful Broadway show, Brigadoon. The show is about a Scottish village that appears only one day every hundred years. When two Americans happen to stumble upon it, one of them meets a local girl and falls in love. The premise is slight and the plot thin. Ultimately, though, at its core the story tells us how love that is strong enough can create miracles. Include a stunning score, and Brigadoon continues to pack an emotional punch that still holds up since the show’s premiere in 1947.


Under Michael Pacas’s extremely well-executed direction, the massive cast of 40+ performers on a relatively small stage adroitly delivers the core of the story. Utilizing impressive musical talent, Musical Director Jaci Davis expertly allows individual voices to shine even while complex choral numbers are sung beautifully. The ensemble sounds great bubbling over with some of the best performers in the desert.

The clear stars are Se Layne in the role of Fiona MacLaren and Paul Grant as Tommy Albright, the couple that falls in love even as Brigadoon threatens to suddenly fade away. Their chemistry is palpable and both have vocal chops that make listening to “Heather on the Hill” and “Almost Like Being in Love” worth an evening in the theater.

LT Cousineau is a standout as Charlie Dalrymple, a young lad who is to be married on that fateful day the Americans arrive. He shines as an actor and has a lovely tenor voice. He has been seen singing with ensembles and choruses in the Valley, but this his first role in a theater production that I’ve seen. I expect we will see more of him.

The show includes great supporting performances across the board from Luke Rainey as Tommy’s chum, the wisecracking Jeff Douglas; Dani Jara Lesaca as the randy milkmaid Meg Brockie; Brandy Valentine, a wonderful dancer, as Charlie’s intended Jean MacLaren; and understudy David Brooks (stepping in for Sheldon Safir) as her father Andrew. Derik Shopinski — in top-notch triple-duty as choreographer, costumer and dancer — displays a dizzying highland sword dance in the role of Harry Beaton, whose love for Jean threatens Brigadoon’s existence. 

The production is among the more beautiful shows I have seen at PCT with set and projections by Richard Marlow and Nick Edwards.

However implausible the miracle that has robbed these townsfolk of all but a sliver of their future, this realistically-drawn, modern-day Celtic fairy tale gleams with gold—priceless songs that melt you in the first measure: Tommy’s ardent “From This Day On”; Fiona’s graceful “Waitin’ for My Dearie”; and Charlie’s gorgeous ballad “Come to Me, Bend to Me.” The generous score also allows Meg to crack us up with the patter numbers “The Love of My Life” and “My Mother’s Wedding Day.” So, “Come Ye to the Fair” to discover why the mystery of this hundred-year event still casts a spell.

photos by Sonny Von Cleveland

Palm Canyon Theater, 538 North Palm Canyon Drive
Thurs at 7; Fri and Sat at 8; Sun at 2
ends on September 24, 2023
for tickets ($17-$38), call 760.323.5123 or visit Palm Canyon Theatre

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