BEHIND THE SCENES: THE MAKING OF “BRIGADOON”

MOLLY MULLIS, TRUMPET GUEST WRITER

Imagine visiting a magical place said to only appear once a century. 

For the cast and crew of “Brigadoon,” they returned to the fantastical world of Brigadoon three days per week during two-hour rehearsals. 

The cast performed Sept. 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Neumann Auditorium. 

Since spring, Opera Workshop has been preparing “Brigadoon.” However, the play was pushed back to September for an exclusive fall showing due to concerns regarding performing live during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first performance Opera Workshop has shown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Put on by Wartburg Players of Opera Workshop, “Brigadoon” follows the journey of two New York tourists — Tommy Albright (Ethan Beck) and Jeff Douglas (Joey Gutzmann)—who stumble across the mystical village of Brigadoon after getting lost in the Scottish Highlands. There, Albright falls in love with a young woman from the village named Fiona (Britta Williams/Olivia Ramaekers). 

The Wartburg Players is a student organization and a subsection of Opera Workshop. Both organizations work closely together to put on plays that require live music. 

“We involve ourselves with anything theater-related: plays, musicals, one-acts, improv, you name it,” “Brigadoon” actor and member of Neumann Crew Rio Lujano said. 

Behind the scenes, many moving parts had to work together to create the enchanting and mysterious atmosphere of “Brigadoon.” Sound design, music, and lighting all contributed to the vibrant and culture-rich environment of the small Scottish town. To learn some of the dances, a dancing bootcamp was even held a few weeks prior to the play to teach performers some of the Scottish dances. 

To get into character, Morgan Schlichting amplified certain qualities of her personality that she shared with her character, Meg Brockie. 

“Meg is very confident—she’s very outgoing, she knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to speak out and be herself,” Schlichting said. “She’s a lot like myself, but just a little bit more desperate for attention.” 

Over 30 Wartburg students are involved in the production, but second-year Gutzmann encourages more people to partake in any future plays or musicals. 

“The more people in the show, the better,” Gutzmann said. “A lot of people think musicals or operas are limited to people in choirs, but we’re always looking for more cast members. If you’re not confident in your singing or dancing ability, there’s always a place for you.” 

Opera Workshop, currently under the direction of Brian Pfaltzgraff and Craig Irvin offers the same invitation. The workshop is open year-round to individuals interested in performing or singing. 

“Every single member of the cast and crew has worked extremely hard,” said Ethan Peter, student director of “Brigadoon” and assistant director to Pfaltzgraff. “And I am so proud to have been able to help lead them.” 

The Wartburg Players plan to presented “Peter/Wendy” on Nov. 12–13 at 7:30 p.m., as well as “Suite Surrender” in the spring.  

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