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Herndon High Performs ‘Brigadoon’

Theater department puts on annual fall musical.

Fiona (played by Molly Nuss) and Tommy (played by Paul Morgan) struggle with their feelings for each other during a scene in Herndon High School’s production of "Brigadoon."

Fiona (played by Molly Nuss) and Tommy (played by Paul Morgan) struggle with their feelings for each other during a scene in Herndon High School’s production of "Brigadoon." Photo by Alex McVeigh.

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Megan Overton as Jean MacLaren in "Brigadoon."

— For many cast members in the Herndon High School Theatre Department, the musical "Brigadoon" wasn’t a familiar title to them. The story of two New Yorkers who stumble upon a mystical disappearing Scottish village features one of the young men, Tommy, who falls in love with one of the town’s residents, only to be confronted by the fact that the town only appears once every hundred years.

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Senior Paul Morgan, as New Yorker Tommy, tries to deal with his feelings for Scottish villager Fiona, played by senior Molly Nuss, in Herndon High School’s production of "Brigadoon," which starts Nov. 30.

"It’s sort of a classic that nobody knows about," said senior Molly Nuss, who plays Fiona, the woman Tommy falls in love with.

Nuss says she really enjoyed the reality of her character, who despite being trapped in a village that only appears once a century, has plenty of depth.

"She shows an entire range of emotion throughout the play, she’s sassy and fiery, but also very serious. Her character is very relatable," she said. "Throughout much of the play, she seems to wear a mask, before coming out as she really is."

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The cast of “Brigadoon.”

Senior Paul Morgan, who plays Tommy, says he was familiar with the 1954 film starring Gene Kelly, who is his favorite actor.

"The love songs are really great, they range from confusion, to Tommy finding a direction, only to lose it again," he said. "From a performance standpoint it’s the most demanding role I’ve played, a lot of singing and dancing, but it’s also the best role I’ve played."

NEW YORKERS Tommy and Jeff, played by senior Chris Hrozencik, find themselves surrounded by a town full of people trapped in the past. Hrozencik’s character is a sardonic drinker that tries to keep Tommy grounded, even as he becomes more infatuated with Fiona.

"He was definitely a fun character to play, he’s older and a drunk, but there are scenes, particularly at the end, where there are comic moments that also show the true reality of his character," he said.

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Molly Nuss as Fiona MacLaren and Paul Morgan as Tommy Albright in "Brigadoon" with the cast.

Hrozencik isn’t the only actor who plays a character vastly different from himself. Senior Amy Freeman plays Meg Brockie, a lovestruck woman who chases Jeff for much of the play.

"She’s so flighty and promiscuous, it was fun to put myself into the role, that’s what acting is all about," she said. "I love the song at the end of the first act, ‘The Love of My Life,’ where she reflects on how strange her love life is. And the whole time she’s chasing Jeff, he’s so dismissive, but she couldn’t care less."

The students stay true to the play, speaking in thick Scottish accents throughout the play, and wearing the tartan attire and petticoats that are Scotland’s signature.

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Paul Morgan, in the role of Tommy, is haunted by the loss of Fiona, during the Herndon High School production of "Brigadoon," opening Nov. 30.

Like most of Herndon’s musicals, this one features accompaniment from a pit orchestra, also students at Herndon High School.

"The orchestra helps add power and emotion to the scenes, and that’s something we can draw on as actors," Nuss said.

Senior Megan Overton, who plays the role of Jean, said the process of learning a completely new musical was very rewarding.

"Once we started doing research, seeing the movie and learning the songs, it was really a fun process. Once it all starts coming together, with the great costumes and the set pieces, it just adds a whole new energy," she said. "We’re so lucky to be able to have the pit orchestra performing, a lot of schools don’t have that opportunity."

"BRIGADOON" will be performed at the Herndon High School auditorium Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.herndondrama.org.