BRIGADOON -- At the National through October 5.
The parade of great old American musicals continues with a new production of "Brigadoon," the 1947 Lerner & Loewe show, which is not at the National Theater, having paused at Wolf Trap, and will open on Broadway in October.
Let's just enjoy this one without the usual discussion of why they don't write them like that any longer. If that subject was not sufficiently aired at the revivals of "oklahoma!," "West Side Story," "Peter Pan" and 'Camelot," we can always get back to it at the end of the year, when a new "Can-Can" is scheduled to appear in New York.
"Brigadoon," as grown-ups will recall, is a fantasy about two sophisticated New Yorkers stumbling upon an 18th-century Scottish village where the nights are 100 years long, so that the town doesn't "stay in any century long enough to be injured by it." In addition to vast quantities of charm, if contains the songs "I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean" and "Almost Like Being in Love" and a whole treasury of Agnes de Mille choreography, including a stunningly sinister chase sequence and a marvelously drunken folk dance.
The stars seem to be revival specialists -- at least, their credits are older than their careers. The heroine, Meg Bussert, comes straight from "The Music Man," and the hero Martin Vidnovic was poor Jud in last year's "Oklahoma!" and appeared in "The King and I" the year before.
This show's malcontent role is the first dry-land part played by ice-skating champion John Curry, who is full of that compelling energy that made musicals so exciting before they turned languidly analytic. (You see how hard it is to keep off that topic.) The soubrette, Elaine Hausman, the ingenue, Mollie Smith, and the ingenu, Stephen Lehew, also have that magic in different ways.
But, then, every person in it has to keep alert and step lively, just to keep from being run over by the moving scenery.