Bright Star is playing at the Cort Theatre located at 138 West 48th Street. It runs two hours thirty minutes with one intermission. It is an open ended show.
Steve Martin and Edie Brickwell wrote the music, book and score. Steve Martin won a Primetime Emmy for the Smothers Brother Comedy Hour writing for a comedy series. He is an actor, comedian, musician, screen writer and a film producer.
Jane Greenwood is the costume designer. She won a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in 2014.
Walter Bobbie is the director. He won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Chicago in 1997.
Dee Hoty was nominated for three Tony Awards for Footloose! (1998), The Will Rogers Follies (1991) and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public (1979).
The musical takes place 1945-1946 and 22 years later in North Carolina.
Billy Cane (A. J. Shively) comes home to find out his mother has passed away. His father (Stephen Bogardus) is thrilled to see him. He said he didn’t want to give him the news while he was away. Billy wants to be a writer. He has been sending stories he has written to his friend Margo Crawford (Hannah Elless). She proof reads them with corrections. Margo has a crush on Billy but he doesn’t notice.
We meet another couple. Alice Murphy (Carmen Cusack) has a crush on Jimmy Ray Dobbs (Paul Alexander Nolan) .They fall for each other but his father Mayor Josiah Dobbs (Michael Mulheren) has other plans on whom he should marry in the future.
Alice gets pregnant. Her parents are upset on what people will say. Her father (Stephen Lee Anderson) and her mother (Dee Hoty) insist she stay in a cabin in the woods so no one would know she’s pregnant. When the baby is born her father and the Mayor take the baby tell her she can’t keep him. The mayor takes the baby away saying they will give it to an adoption agency.
Alice becomes a literary agent and owner of a magazine. Daryl Ames (Jeff Blumenkrantz) is at the reception desk. He summits articles under bogus names to see if they will be accepted. Lucy Grant (Emily Padgett) helps Alice. Billy comes to the office to submit his stories in hope they will be published. Alice rejects them, but become his mentor giving him suggestion on how to make them better. When she finally tells him she will publish the story he is thrilled. Alice said they will talk when she gets back. She is going back home to see her family. Billy says he is going home to tell his father what happened. When he realizes she lives in the next town he invites to meet his father.
Of course as always there is more to the story than I am telling especially the plot twist. If I did tell it would spoil it.
This is a brilliant show worth seeing at least once.
There is a house on stage that moves around made of wood slats, inside the house are six musicians playing instruments. There are two platforms on either side of the walls on stage that have other musicians. Props come and go.
Some of the actors have several roles.
Carmen Cusack does a remarkable job. When she sings “If You Knew My Story” (opening song) and “At Long Last” (last song), she takes your breath away. Her voice and facial expressions just wipe you away. Have a tissue on you.
Paul Alexander Nolan is awesome. His voice gets better each time I see him.
Hats off to A. J. Shively, Hannah Elles, Emily Padgett and Michael Mulheren their impressive talent adds to the show.
The bluegrass music especially the banjo is great.
I hope this open ended show runs for a long time.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for recent photos. Click on recent photos for this and other shows.