Scott Harris as Tommy Albright and Alexandra Haines as Fiona Maclaren in “Brigadoon”
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Rye Neck High School Theater Director Scott Harris returns to the stage in a production of the legendary musical “Brigadoon” at the Grinton I. Will Library in Yonkers, July 26-28. Unlike the character he plays, who finds himself out of sorts in a fictitious idyllic village, Harris is in his element.
“I love teaching but acting was my first love and I did it for 12 years, most of it in musical theater,” he said. “I’ve missed it, so it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to perform during my summer break. Besides, it recharges your batteries.”
“Brigadoon” is the tenth anniversary production of Little Radical Theatrics, a non-profit community theater organization.
The original production opened on Broadway in 1946, but Harris is confident today’s audiences will be just as captivated as they were then. After all, it’s by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, the team behind “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot”. Two years ago, “Brigadoon” enjoyed a successful revival with Kelli O’Hara at New York City Center. The beautiful score includes such standards as “Almost Like Being in Love” and “Heather on the Hill,” and the characters are charming and beloved.
“It’s a well-written show I have long adored,” said Harris, who was 14 when his mother took him to a local production of the play. “It’s a beautiful, romantic story with song, dance, humor, and magic. It’s timeless.”
The musical’s whimsical plot revolves around a couple of New Yorkers Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas, played by Harris and John Hartigan, who stumble upon a Scottish highland village that rises out of the mist every 100 years. When Tommy falls in love with Fiona Maclaren, played by Alexandra Haines, he must decide whether to return to his old life or stay in Brigadoon forever.
As if he were waiting in the wings, Harris has taken on the leading role with gusto. To ensure his voice is as strong as ever, he has been singing his repertoire on a loop. “A voice is like a muscle, so I’ve been singing in the car,” he admitted. He has also been absorbed by the script, memorizing the lines so “they’re letter-perfect.”
Into their eighth week, the cast is rehearsing four nights a week and on weekends. Despite the rigorous schedule, Harris cherishes the experience. Not only has he taken the stage once again, but his fiancé, Mary Fairbank, also a teacher, is in the ensemble. Until they return to their students in September, what a summer this has been in Brigadoon.
<The Grinton I. Will Library is located at 1500 Central Park Avenue in Yonkers. The curtain goes up July 26 at 7, July 27 at 2 and 7:30, and July 28 at 2. For advance seats, visit brownpapertickets.com.
Tickets are $25, $20 for children, students, and seniors.>