there but for you go I.

Brigadoon, a classic Lerner & Loewe Broadway musical (and later movie, starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse), takes place in an American fantasy of Scotland. There are lots of kilts, bagpipes, lassies, heather, use of the word “ye.”

The story follows an American named Tommy, engaged to a Manhattan socialite, on a pre-marriage hunting trip with his alcoholic buddy. In search of Scottish wildlife to shoot and kill, they get lost and stumble into a town that looks like a “Life in the 18th Century” diorama.

The Americans are fascinated and compelled by the friendly but old-fashioned Brigadoonians. Ignoring his engagement and his confusion about the strange village, Tommy is soon frolicking through the heather on the hill with a woman named Fiona, singing that it’s “almost like falling in love.”

The village sage, Mr. Lundie, explains to Tommy that Brigadoon is protected from the outside world by a miraculous spell that makes every night they sleep last one hundred years. Isolated by time from technological progress, social deterioration, and the passing out of fashion of kilts, Brigadoon will disappear for a century, the minute Fiona and her neighbors lay their heads to pillows that night. The only way he can stay, Mr. Lundie tells Tommy, is if he’s absolutely sure about his love for Fiona.

He’s not. He sings his sad song to Fiona (courtesy of ST Lyrics):

These hurried hours were all the life we could share.
Still, I will go with not a tear, just a prayer
That when we are far apart, you’ll find something from your heart
Has gone! Gone with me from this day on.

Tommy returns to New York with his boozehound buddy. Sitting gloomily at a chi-chi bar, Tommy is discovered by the fiancee he’s ignored since returning to the US. She rattles on about the house she wants them to live in after the wedding, her dislike for his friend, his own strange behavior. Instead of drawing his attention to her, her sentences trigger Tommy’s memories of picturesque Brigadoon, from the villagers gustily advertising the goods at their market, to Fiona promising to love him forever.

There is no contest: in Manhattan, people listen to jazz. In Brigadoon, people spontaneously break into song. Tommy has no choice but to send his non-singing fiancee away, call his drunken friend, and buy two tickets to Scotland.

They’re soon wandering lost in the woods, wondering if the entire thing was a dream. Magically, Mr. Lundie appears and tells Tommy, “Ye must really love her… ye woke me up!”

Replace the kilts, bagpipes, and use of the word “ye,” with raincoats, Wellies, and the word “gobshite.” Make Tommy a girl with short red hair and Fiona a boy with even shorter red hair. Put them in a pub instead of a field of heather. Play the songs of eternal love from an iPod instead of a full chorus of Scottish villagers. Make that Manhattan cocktail a Buffalo pint of ale. And you’ve got my life, just before Tommy picks up the phone, calls his buddy, and says, “I wanna go back!”

Marcus doesn’t spontaneously break into song, but he might start playing his guitar at any moment. He doesn’t dance through fields of heather, but he does ride his bike through the moors. And although he wouldn’t look that hot in a peasant skirt, I bet he’d look sizzlin’ in a kilt.

I don’t have Lerner & Loewe to help me. It may take more than ninety minutes to pull off this miracle. But, Gene Kelly’s velvety voice guiding me, “across the green, I’ll go home with bonnie… Mr. Hotness.”

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