The classic Lerner and Loewe musical Brigadoon is billed by the Candlelight Theatre – with just a touch of schmaltz – as “a love story that transcends time.”
That’s a nod to the show’s story of two young American men wandering the Scottish highlands who stumble upon a magical village trapped in history. That is, the townspeople awaken only once every hundred years.
But the timeless concept is also apt for the Candlelight because the theatre has had such vigorous staying power, reinventing itself repeatedly over the years but always delivering quality contemporary performances.
Candlelight Theatre – stays true to quality performances over decades of performances
The Candlelight’s heritage goes deep in its village of Arden, where it started life as the Harvey Barn. Then for three decades from the 1930s until the mid-1960s it hosted summer stock as the Robinhood Theatre. In 1969 it became the Candlelight Music Dinner Theatre, the first of its kind in Delaware.
Making our way to the theatre after sundown on a recent Saturday night, it seemed right that the night’s production was set in the foggy mores of Scotland. There’s a mysterious air to Ardentown, and on this evening a spooky but welcome darkness cloaked the streets and the eclectic mix of cottages and homes in the north Wilmington community.
Upon entering the Candlelight’s iconic red barn, we were met by two welcoming figures: house manager and hostess Jodi McLane, and bartender Dan Healy. McLane swept us into the theatre and our table with great elan and good cheer. Mr. Healy, friendly and engaging, concocted a delicious Old Fashioned with his recommended rye whiskey.
This all put us on the right footing as we tucked in for the entertainment.
Brigadoon a beloved musical
Brigadoon premiered on Broadway in 1947 and was the subject of the 1954 movie starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. Naturally, this being a post-war Broadway show, it is good clean fun, with the fresh-faced American boy Tommy falling hard for beautiful Fiona of Brigadoon. But there are a few fun modern twists — the lads regularly check their smartphones — that give the production a current feel. And of course, the songbook includes timeless standards including “Almost like being in love.”
Most impressive was the sheer depth and caliber of the cast – some two dozen costumed actors working the stage with great energy and passion, surely rivaling what that original Broadway crew must have brought to the table in their heyday. Sophie Jones and Andy Boettcher were terrific as Fiona and Tommy.
Struggling actors famously do a turn or two waiting tables. And this being a dinner theatre, the cast did both under one roof. After intermission, the smiling lads and lasses of Brigadoon darted about delivering tasty desserts and hot coffee to patrons thankful they’d stepped back into a charming and memorable time.
TSD is delighted to partner with the Candlelight Theatre to showcase their terrific local productions.