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Brigadoon Directed/Choreographed By Wheeldon, Starring O'Hara, Pasquale & R. Fairchild

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I saw this performance last night.  It was fabulous.  Kelli O'Hara sings and acts so beautifully in this.  Robbie Fairchild danced up a storm in the supporting role of Harry Beaton.  Also, I think his acting has improved substantially since I saw him in the Broadway run of American in Paris.  Patricia Delgado has a small non speaking role, as the dancer in "Funeral Dance".  The only somewhat weak link is Patrick Wilson, who replaced the originally announced Steven Pasquale for the entire run.  NY Times review below, plus red carpet photos.

Peter Martins and Darci Kistler were at last night's show.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/theater/brigadoon-christopherwheeldon-city-center-review.html

http://www.playbill.com/article/see-kelliohara-patrick-wilson-and-more-come-out-for-the-new-york-city-center-gala

 

 

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I went Friday night as well. I was thoroughly charmed and think this deserves a full production run on Broadway. I watched the movie before going and found it to be pretty awful, from sets to singing, to acting, even choreography (sorry, Gene) . I thought Chris Wheeldon would make improvements and he didn't disappoint. The beefed up role of Harry Beaton for R. Fairchild added to the drama immensely. All of the principal singer/actors were in top form. Even the score, which I've always thought was unmemorable took me by surprise and I was humming, along with others, as we left the theatre. My only quibble was that the funeral dance went on too long. It seemed like filler to lengthen the second act. A minor quibble, since at the same time it was a treat to see Patricia Delgado on a NYC stage.

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For comparsion, there's a very dim version of the 1980 Broadway revival online, difficult to see. But this bit of Agnes de Mille choreography really shines through -

Begins at 51:00 (with setup) or 55:00 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTHpFFm7RAY

Edward Villella in the sword dance from the 1966 tv version (with Robert Goulet and Peter Falk(!); choreography uncredited) at 55:30 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW5N7K1gFiw

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Canbelto, I agree with you about the disappointing choreography, most especially in the Funeral Dance. I think Wheeldon did better directing here than choreographing.  I liked Patrick Wilson better than you did, but missed Stephen Pasquale (who is miscast in the disappointing Junk now on stage at the Mitzi Newhouse).  Pasquale and O’Hara are a match made in heaven.  That being said, I’m so glad to have seen this. Kelli O’Hara is sublime, and I enjoyed Robbie Fairchild’s dancing much more here than in An American in Paris.

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3 hours ago, Peg said:

Canbelto, I agree with you about the disappointing choreography, most especially in the Funeral Dance. I think Wheeldon did better directing here than choreographing.  I liked Patrick Wilson better than you did, but missed Stephen Pasquale (who is miscast in the disappointing Junk now on stage at the Mitzi Newhouse).  Pasquale and O’Hara are a match made in heaven.  That being said, I’m so glad to have seen this. Kelli O’Hara is sublime, and I enjoyed Robbie Fairchild’s dancing much more here than in An American in Paris.

Peg I think what annoyed me about Wheeldon's choreography was that Brigadoon is a deliberately exotic musical and that calls for some traditional Scottish folk dancing. What we got was Wheeldon's usual pop ballet moves that he used in An American in Paris -- the shoulder lift/twirl, the women baring their legs, the coupe jetes. It just didn't work and as a result the dance numbers sometimes dragged, and Brigadoon is supposed to have a lot of dancing.

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23 hours ago, Quiggin said:

For comparsion, there's a very dim version of the 1980 Broadway revival online, difficult to see. But this bit of Agnes de Mille choreography really shines through -

Begins at 51:00 (with setup) or 55:00 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTHpFFm7RAY

Edward Villella in the sword dance from the 1966 tv version (with Robert Goulet and Peter Falk(!); choreography uncredited) at 55:30 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW5N7K1gFiw

 Thank you. I especially loved seeing Villella.

I saw the movie many years ago, but mostly just remember liking the Heather on the Hill song and thinking Harry was justified in his fury  and .... not much else. Do stagings always have the bride more or less swoon when Harry kisses her (as in the tv version)? That moment in the recording caught me a little by surprise. 

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Gene Kelly sometimes swoons in a silly maleish way after a kiss or returned glance in various musicals.

With the deMille ballet ("Jean and girls") at 55:00 above, you might see references to Giselle and Coppelia act III (weaving or grain). I was wondering if theses sorts of enrichening references or figures occur in the Wheeldon version. Canbelto says the sword dance is pretty much the same as the original. 

Added:
I guess my question is: when a ballet's distinguished choreography is superseded by a new version, will the originals disappear? In this case could a suite of de Mille's dances for Brigadoon – which have seem to have a very contemporary grace and ease to them – be assembled and documented while there are dancers around who still remember them? Perhaps it should be a requirement just as distinguished buildings in some cities are photographed and documented before they give way to new office towers.

Edited by Quiggin

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