‘Brigadoon’ review: Radiant production of a classic show

If you go: “Brigadoon” is playing at City Center through Nov. 19. 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, nycitycenter.org.

Are we getting to the point where we are more likely to see the village of Brigadoon suddenly materialize out of thin air and back into the Scottish Highlands than see a Broadway revival of “Brigadoon”?

The village comes back into existence for just one day every 100 years. By comparison, the romantic, folksy, moral-heavy and dance-heavy 1947 Lerner and Loewe musical has not received a major New York production since 1980, which makes its weeklong production at City Center such a welcome treat.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, it’s 1946 and jaded New Yorkers Tommy (Patrick Wilson) and Jeff (Aasif Mandvi), on a hunting trip in Scotland, discover a pleasant little town that is not on the map, where Tommy encounters a stunning, self-assured, single lassie (Kelli O’Hara) and Jeff is singled out by a flirty Ado Annie-type female (Stephanie J. Block).

“Brigadoon” at City Center is not technically part of this season’s Encores! series. But for all intents and purposes, this is an excellent and unusually elaborate Encores! production, with a big cast and orchestra (including bagpipe), nary a single script in sight, new staging by director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon (“An American in Paris”), animated visual projections (to evoke the earthy, rustic atmosphere of Brigadoon and contrast it with big city glitz), and accomplished leading players well-suited to such a piece of traditional musical theater.

O’Hara is an unusually mature Fiona (who is supposed to be in her early 20s), but that hardly matters. As you would expect, O’Hara sings beautifully and fully acts out the fear and longing expressed in her character’s establishing song “Waitin’ for My Dearie.” Wilson makes for an appropriately strapping, straight-laced leading man (and one hopes he will return again to musical theater sooner rather than later). Mandvi and Block are similarly well-suited as the musical’s comic secondary couple.