BRIGHT STAR

Ahmanson Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

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Critics LemonMeter

90%

Inspired by a real event, this original musical tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. Propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers, the story unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion, beautiful melodies and enthralling performances. Marc Snetiker of Entertainment Weekly called “Bright Star,” “A genuinely delightful show bolstered by an incredible debut from Carmen Cusack.”

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"The opening lyrics of the opening song of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s bluegrass/country western infused musical Bright Star, currently starting its National Tour at the Ahmanson Theatre, tell you what to expect. “If you knew my story you’d have a hard time Believing me, you’d think I was lying.” What follows is a backwoods story, a sort of Appalachian fairy tale, not exactly one peopled by witch boys like The Dark of the Moon or body-less robbers like The Robber Bridegroom’s Big Harp, but you do have to possess an eagerness to entertain fanciful storytelling."

"The staging of the show, as conceived by director Walter Bobbie (FB) and choreographer Josh Rhodes (FB), was beautiful. The band was primarily in a wooden house on the stage that the characters kept moving around and turning around. The ensemble remained in fluid motion around and behind the characters, transforming scenes as needed. I found it magical and charming (but then, I liked Amalie as well for similar reasons). This was one of those shows with what I would call a representative set — small stage pieces that represent a place — as opposed to some of the hyper-realistic sets you might see in another show. It worked, and it worked well."

"Just as Alice’s life is an ongoing combination of happiness and trouble, if the aesthetic and strong production elements are the happiness of Bright Star, the story is most certainly the trouble. With the exception of Alice, none of the characters are more than one-note, and the tone, dictated by turns in the plot that are at once predictable and perplexing, is wildly inconsistent."

"Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s plot is about as predictable as Dotard Donnie’s reaction to criticism (“Sad!”), but still their bluegrass-tinged music is gloriously infectious, while Walter Bobbie’s direction is extraordinarily fluid and the simple but effective design elements in the production could not be more impressive. Add to this a wonderful ensemble cast and a worldclass band and even the script’s most predictable and improbable themes can be forgiven."

"Bright Star" [is a] folk musical that weaves the stories of it's characters through colorful song, dance and dialogue in what amounts to a truly crowd pleasing experience."

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