‘Brigadoon’ to bring Highland magic to Price stage
Oct. 9, 2009

‘Brigadoon’ to bring Highland magic to Price stage When “Brigadoon” opens at Price Theater on Oct. 23 of Homecoming weekend, it will feature a cast of 30 actors, an 11-piece orchestra, ever-changing scenery, scores of authentic Scottish costumes ­– ­­­and a bagpiper.

“This is, by far, the biggest production we’ve done in my 15 years at LaGrange College,” said Kim Barber Knoll, the show’s director/choreographer and Chair of the Theatre Arts Department. “Even though the production is enormous, it contains a very sincere, heartfelt message: If you love someone enough, anything is possible.”

The classic musical, written by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner , premiered on Broadway in 1947. It tells the story of two hunters from New York City who stumble upon a mysterious village that emerges from the Scottish Highland mists for only one day every century. The score includes such songs as "Almost Like Being In Love," "Come to Me, Bend to Me," and "The Heather on the Hill."
Barber Knoll said “Brigadoon” has everything.

 “The script is simple but funny and touching.  There are three ballets and an incredible score with 19 musical numbers,” she said. “This is also an ensemble show.  Everyone is integral to the overall story.”

The production, a collaboration between the Theatre Arts and Music departments, has brought out the best in everyone involved, said Dr. Toni Anderson, Chair of the Music Department.

“My biggest joy has been the opportunity to see students – a lot of them freshmen – come in and rise to the level of artistic experience that we expect of them,” she said. “Some of them aren’t theater or music students, but they take on the demands we place on them – such as dancing like professional dancers and singing like professional singers – and they have all worked so hard.”

The show also features the talents of several community members.

“The cast features Jim and Anne Short, Lawrence Blakely, Ed Biggs, and Laura and Edward Smith and their family in the cast, and Nancy Gell as our ballet choreographer,” Barber Knoll said. “The guest bagpiper is from Newnan.”

The Shorts, who are natives of Scotland, have been invaluable to the show, the director said.

“Their attention to detail and emotional connection to this piece is contagious,” Barber Knoll said.

“Jim spent hours with the cast, working with them on the dialect. He and Anne have brought their own heritage and culture to this production, giving us an added depth and authenticity.  They are also both joyous individuals, and their enthusiasm is infectious.”

For the first time, a student has taken on the job as lighting designer. Tom Waddington, a senior, earned that right, according to Technical Director Nate Tomsheck.

“Student designers are not guaranteed that they will have the opportunity to design for a main stage production,” he said. “That honor has to be earned.  Tom is the first student designer who has proven himself ready to design for the main stage since my time at LaGrange College.” 

Smith, who serves on the College’s Board of Trustees, said doing the show with his entire family has been an education for them all.

“Our kids (Bryson and Laegan) have very much enjoyed being a part of the cast and getting to know the students,” he said. “The hours are long, but they have never once complained about having to get up for school after a late night at Price Theater.  And we justify keeping them out a bit later with the wonderful ‘education’ they are receiving.  They just love it and Laura and I are thankful to experience it alongside them.”

But more than that, Smith said he has a greater appreciation for the impact the College and its programs have on its students.

“This (production) is one of the many reasons that our college transforms the lives of its students in profound and meaningful ways,” he said.  “To witness that up close and participate in a small role has been immensely gratifying.  Combine that gratification with the remarkable family experience we’ve had and you could say that it’s been a transformative experience for our family, as well.”

“Brigadoon” opens at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23, followed by an 8 p.m. show Oct. 24; 7:30 p.m. performance Oct. 25, 29, 30 and a 2:30 p.m. matinee Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors, children and non-LC students. To order tickets or for more information, call the Box Office at (706) 880-8080.

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