ANESVILLE—We live in cynical times. Love doesn’t conquer all anymore. It hasn’t for decades.
Consider the J. Geils Band’s “Love Stinks” came out in 1980.
But hold on. Pop songs are not the only measure of a society. Consider that musical theater has been burning the candle for true love through all the cynical decades.
And it appears some of today’s young people still believe.
Consider the Parker High students who are putting on the 72-year-old hit “Brigadoon,” which opens Friday, March 29.
The show reflects the positive outlook of the World War II generation. Two Americans hunting in the Scottish highlands come across a village that is not on the map and is full of odd people. They find out the villagers live under a curse: The village appears for a single day once every 100 years, then disappears.
Sure enough, one of our hunters falls in love with a girl from the village. Does he stay in Brigadoon, losing touch with his own world, or does he abandon her? The clock is ticking.
All of the student actors interviewed had something positive to say about the show’s answer, the idea that love conquers all.
“I think it’s true. I think that happens for everyone,” said Hunter Olson, who plays the love-struck Tommy Albright.
“I think it’s a good way to think about love, that if you stay true to who and what you love, that it’ll all be OK,” said ensemble member Hayden Kedrowski.
Love is goodness and hope, said ensemble member Grace Heiss: “It can conquer evil and can get you through anything.”
“I think love is one of the most powerful forces in nature,” said Michael Rick, a junior who plays Charlie Dalrymple, a romantic, tragic character. “Musical theater is a beautiful way to show people that love is there for everyone, and if you are not happy in your life, that eventually something is going to come along in an unexpected way.”
“I still think it is the most powerful thing in the world,” said Addison Schuh, who plays Fiona, one of the romantic leads.
“We do kind of need that idea in today’s society,” said junior Sullivan Saliby, who plays cynical New Yorker Jeff Douglas.
With all the news of hate in the world and negativity against different people, the positivity of “Brigadoon” might be just the thing we all need, Saliby added.
Olson said he knew only one of the songs in “Brigadoon” before he began preparing for his role. “As soon as I heard my songs and the ensemble songs, I fell in love with this show.”
Junior Molly Skalecki, who plays Maggie, has been studying dance for 10 years, so the show’s dancing is her love. In her role, Skalecki performs a solo dance to express the musical’s saddest moment.
But the show also has energetic dances that old folks might remember, including a sword dance and the rousing “I’ll Go Home with Bonnie Jean.”
Parker has performed a lot of Disney musicals of late, so the students said “Brigadoon” is a nice change.
“I love this kind of music,” Schuh said. “These kinds of shows are my favorite.”
Olson and others said few of their classmates had even heard of “Brigadoon.”
“But these stories are timeless, and the meaning behind it—this show will resonate with any generation,” Rick said.
This will be the community’s last chance to see the Schuh, Olson, Kedrowski, Heiss and other seniors on stage for some time. It is their last musical before they head out into the world in search of their own loves.