As you know Eddy and I love any date night with tickets but when BRIGHT STAR tickets were offered for a Broadway date night. We could not say yes fast enough and got excited about what THE Grammy® and Emmy® Award winner Steve Martin and THE Grammy®-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell would bring to the Broadway stage.
Then when Steve Martin unexpectedly shows up to play banjo on your date night it takes the night to another level. No I do not have a picture or video of it! It was a broadway show but see this tweet with video from Hannah Elless who plays Margo from Friday’s surprise visit.
Inspired by a true event, the wholly original new musical Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and 40s. When successful literary editor Alice Murphy meets an ambitious young soldier just home from World War II, their connection inspires Alice to confront her past. Together they discover a stunning secret with the power to transform their lives.
With music and book by Steve Martin and music and lyrics by Edie Brickell, Bright Starfeatures direction by Walter Bobbie, choreography by Josh Rhodes, scenic design by Eugene Lee, costume design by Jane Greenwood, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, musical supervision by Peter Asher, musical direction and vocal arrangements by Rob Berman, and orchestrations by August Eriksmoen. Bright Star was developed and had its world premiere at The Old Globe in San Diego (Barry Edelstein, Artistic Director; Michael G. Murphy, Managing Director).
What a show!
On the intimate stage of Cort Theater, Martin, Brickell and Bobbie transport you to early 20th century where we are taken on a musical journey of love lost and found between two separate couples from two different eras. But the musical is so much more than just a love story but a testament to the human spirit.
They all have a vision, yes there is a beautiful song to go along with their dreams, of leaving their small Southern towns for an extraordinary life but tragedy unfolds unexpectedly. Will they give up on their dreams and settle or try again for the extraordinary.
My favorite songs were Sun Is Gonna Shine, I had a Vision and Whoa, Mama which allow Carmen Cusack as Alice Murphy and Paul Alexander Nolan as Jimmy Ray Dobbs and band to shine.
I wish there was more time in the show for more human nuances. There was some very dark moments and because of time restraints we really could not savor the happy resolution or happy ending.
Definitely makes me want to read the book by the same name. Good luck on Tony night Mr. Martin I hope you achieve your EGOT.
For me the star of the show was the music. The Bluegrass band really showcased Steve Martin’s talent within the genre and serves to add much of the emotional components of the show while covering up some of shortcomings in the plot. It also doesn’t hurt when the show’s creator and one of the most famous men in entertainment comes out and performs with the band for a little bit.
Vocally the standout is the show’s lead actress, Carmen Cusack, whose unique voice complements the music perfectly, she was at another level and really shone whenever she took the stage. As I sat through the show I really felt that she could put out a successful and beautiful Bluegrass album. In terms of the story, I found that there were a couple of areas that could have been stronger. The one thing that comes to mind was the ending, which seemed a little hurried considering that it contained the payoff we were looking for from the moment the first act ended.
Overall, I felt that the show was extremely heartfelt and uplifting. Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (the show’s creators) have taken great pains to craft songs with great emotion and musicality and with such a strong band they make the music the biggest selling point of the show.
Now playing at the Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street). For more information and to purchase tickets ($45 – $145) visit www.BrightStarMusical.com.
Disclosure: We received press tickets to attend the show. As always, my posts are based on my opinions and experiences.