Inspire School of Arts and Sciences in Chico will be enchanting local audiences with its production of the “whimsical musical fantasy” Brigadoon, which opened on Thursday night and runs through Sunday. The story of Brigadoon is centered in a magical village in Scotland that comes to life for a single day every one hundred years. The production, which premiered in 1947, includes such memorable songs as “The Heather on the Hill” and “Almost Like Being in Love.”
“The production is amazing and is entirely student-led,” said producer and choreographer Jarrah Myles in an interview this week. ” ”Brigadoon” will have 30 student performers on stage, another 30 in the orchestra pit and an additional 50 students working on the production in various capacities.”
Audiences may recall last year”s productions of “The Wizard of Oz” and “A Midsummer Night”s Dream.”
“Inspire has a focus on professional level training for the performing arts, and our productions give this real life experience to our students,” Myles said. “Brigadoon was chosen this year to raise the level of singing, dancing and instrumentation for our students.”
The music, which Myles states was not well known by students when the production was first chosen, includes eight-part harmonies and classical melody lines. Being set in two different historical eras has challenged the students to study to ensure historical accuracy when designing costumes and creating props for the set, Myles said.
Auditions for the production were originally held in January, with the rehearsal process starting soon after. Students are expected to rehearse with the Director (Joyce Henderson), Choreographer (Myles) and/or Musical Director-Conductor (Mary Lou Lim) from four to 12 hours each week, with an increase in those hours as the production came closer. Students built sets they designed themselves. They are learning skills which vary from stage management to set construction and lighting design, makeup, hair design and execution. Inspire students also work as public relations interns, stagehands, and seamstresses, said Myles.
The music is also student produced — the live orchestra will include students, staff, members of the community and bagpiper, Jim McKasson.
In addition to Henderson, Myles and Lim, “Brigadoon”s” production staff includes costume design and supervision by Gail Holbrook, light design by David Baker and sound design by Jim White, as well as student leaders: stage manager Maddison Heffley, set designer Tristan Gunderson, costume design and construction by Gracelyn Sweeney and property design by Sarah Kraatz.