Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Phoenix

Hale Centre Theatre
Review by Gil Benbrook

Also see Gil's reviews of Jeremy Jordan with Seth Rudetsky, Perfect Arrangement and 20th Century Blues

Austin Delp and Amanda Valenzuela
Photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw
With a score dripping with lush love songs and a simple but moving story set around a wedding in the dreamy highlands of Scotland, Brigadoon is one of the most romantic musicals ever written. Hale Centre Theatre features a cast with exceptional singing voices and energetic dance steps, resulting in a gorgeous and solid production of this classic musical.

The plot is fairly simple. Vacationing New Yorkers Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas stumble upon the magical town of Brigadoon as they wander through the Scotland countryside. While it isn't on their map for some strange reason, the two men are welcomed by the happy town folk and Tommy becomes enamored with Fiona MacLaren while Jeff is chased by the rambunctious and flirty Meg Brockie. They are both also invited to come to the wedding that evening of Charlie Dalrymple and Jean MacLaren, Fiona's sister. However, trouble is brewing when Harry Beaton, who is in love with Jean and resentful that she has chosen another man to marry, threatens to leave Brigadoon which could spell doom for the sleepy town's inhabitants.

Alan Jay Lerner's book gives just enough information on the characters to make them realistic while also foreshadowing the secret of Brigadoon so that when it's revealed it isn't too much of a shock. His lyrics are a perfect combination of lushly romantic for the love ballads and duets and witty rhymes for the comical numbers. The music by Frederick Loewe is idealistic and dreamy with such well-known tunes as "The Heather on the Hill" and "Almost Like Being in Love."

Director Cambrian James does a wonderful job staging the show in the small Hale space to provide a perfect amount of intimacy while also using the various aisles and stairs to expand the feeling of a larger town setting for the many large ensemble numbers. His choreography is superb and well danced by the cast. Cathy Hauan's music direction derives impressive vocals from the entire cast, including some beautiful harmonies. Tia Hawkes' colorful period costumes are very striking. The lighting by Tim Dietlein bathes the stage in deep blues for the nighttime scenes and warm colors for those set during the day.

As Tommy Albright, Austin Delp's rich voice delivers gorgeous versions of some of the show's biggest hits. He and Amanda Valenzuela, as Fiona MacLaren, create a romantic pair you want to see succeed, even though there is a big obstacle in the way of their budding romance. Valenzuela creates a warm and honest portrayal of Fiona with a lilting singing voice that soars. David Michael Paul provides plenty of humor as the fun-loving but slightly sarcastic Jeff Douglas.

Allan DeWitt and Carmiña Garey are charming as Charlie and Jean, respectively. DeWitt has been in what seems like close to a dozen Hale productions, but this is the first time I believe he's had the chance to show how wonderful of a singer he is. His performance of "Come To Me, Bend To Me" is gorgeous, with some impressive high notes. Garey's balletic abilities are wonderful. Brie Wadsworth-Gates is a hoot as Meg Brockie, and Justin Howell is wise and warm as Mr. Lundie, the man who had something to do with the town's secret. As Harry Beaton, Kyle Webb interjects a constant sense of brooding. Jared Kitch, Adam Guinn, Ashley Bauer, Noah Delgado, Ryan Monaghan and Kayla McLemore provide ample support as various family heads and townspeople. The entire ensemble (Kayleah Wilson, Jeremy Cruz, Karis Eliese, Nick Fernandez, Albert Johnston, Ariana Mai Lucius, Bennett Allen Wood, and Olivia Woodward-Shaw) are all quite effective in creating unique characters. Many of the cast also have realistic Scottish accents that never falter.

In Brigadoon, Tommy and Jeff go wandering through Scotland to escape their hectic lives. Seeing this charming, blissful, and romantic musical in Hale's gorgeous production with this glorious cast is the perfect escape from anything that troubles you.

Brigadoon runs through March 26, 2022, at Hale Centre Theatre, 50 W. Page Avenue, Gilbert AZ. For tickets and information, please visit or call 480-497-1181.

Producers and Casting Directors: David and Corrin Dietlein
Director/Choreographer: Cambrian James
Music Director: Cathy Hauan

Set Technical Director: Brian Daily
Lighting Designer: Tim Dietlein
Costume Designer: Tia Hawkes
Scenic Designer and Prop Master: McKenna Carpenter
Sound Designer: Jackson Zyontz
Wigs and Makeup: Cambrian James
Audio Engineer: Jackson Zyontz
Stage Manager: Brooke Feldman

Tommy Albright: Austin Delp
Fiona MacLaren: Amanda Valenzuela
Jeff Douglas: David Michael Paul
Charlie Dalrymple: Allan DeWitt
Jean MacLaren: Carmiña Garey
Meg Brockie: Brie Wadsworth-Gates
Mr. Lundie: Justin M. Howell
Andrew MacLaren: Jared Kitch
Archie Beaton: Adam Guinn
Harry Beaton: Kyle Webb
Maggie Anderson: Ashley Bauer
MacGregor: Noah Delgado
Stuart Dalrymple: Ryan Monaghan
Sandy Dean/ Jane Ashton: Kayla McLemore
Female Ensemble: Kayleah Wilson
Male Ensemble: Jeremy Cruz
Female Ensemble: Karis Eliese
Male Ensemble: Nick Fernandez
Male Ensemble: Albert Johnston
Female Ensemble: Ariana Mai Lucius
Male Ensemble: Bennett Allen Wood
Female Ensemble: Olivia Woodward-Shaw