Running since February 2016 A new musical set in North Carolina in the 1920s and '40s, involving hidden identities, tragedy, and young love, with a bluegrass-inflected score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.
The Broadway production of Bright Star closed June 26, 2016. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.
From the producers: Inspired by an astonishing 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 a shocking incident from her past. Together they discover a long-buried secret with the power to transform their lives.
"Bright Star" arrives on Broadway following an engagement at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The musical had its world premiere at San Diego's Old Globe in 2014.
Though Steve Martin is best known for his comedic roles, he's also a Grammy-winning, lifelong banjo player who has dedicated recent years to musical projects more than Hollywood productions. Edie Brickell has enjoyed a decades-long recording career as both a solo artist and a frontwoman, most notably for the the New Bohemians, which released its debut album in 1988.
Their collaboration has produced two albums - 2013's "Love Has Come For You," which earned them a Grammy for Best American Roots Song, and "So Familiar," released in 2015.
[It] isn't a bullseye. But it's sweet and tender and boasts a fine cast. [The] bluegrassy score is mellow and pretty. But it's also repetitive - melodically and lyrically. Director Bobbie and choreographer Rhodes keep the show chugging along. Cusack consistently shines - even when "Bright Star" doesn't.
Cliche-ridden, over-eager...the show never hits an honest note. The music, with a few exceptions, is weak. The book and lyrics are even more feeble, with graceless lines. Director Bobbie gets everything out of his cast and keeps a frenetic pace going but for no clear payoff.
"Bright Star" often verges on corny, particularly in the second act as the plotlines come together. The bluegrass sounds compliment the show's setting and era. Not every song is a winner, but there are stirring ballads and toe-tapping numbers throughout that audience members will enjoy.
New York Magazine
[A] banal, self-cancelling, upbeat musical, the kind that wants to demonstrate a lot of heart without actually having one...which is not to say it has no smarts and no value. The mostly bluegrass score sounds great but the songs repeat, in the most cliched terms, what we already know from the dialogue.
New York Post
It juxtaposes an over-the-top plot with a low-key production and mild-tempered music...the show ambles along, alternating between lively hootenannies and lovely ditties. As a gentle fable, "Bright Star" has a quirky charm, but its stubborn refusal to face up to its dark side diminishes it.
New York Times
While the story certainly skirts sentimentality and melodrama, the production's soft-hued style - and the sometimes wry tone of Martin's book - keeps it from curdling into treacle. The songs boast simple but seductive melodies, and lyrics that have a sweet, homespun quality. The performances are superb.
Downright wonderful...all the characters are richly developed. The show grows with the complexity of a juicy short story. The large cast is uniformly appealing. The score builds with rhythmic surprises, melodic complexity and the deep satisfaction of humming and plucking strings.
Time Out New York
The show trudges inexorably toward a second-act twist that is at once preposterous and head-smackingly predictable...likable, plucky bluegrass music with lyrics that run from workmanlike to egregious. If not much else, the musical does right by its star, the bright spot in a sky of murk.
"Bright Star" aspires to the kind of emotional sweep and folksy wit we associate with Golden Age musicals. Martin captures some of that old-school spirit with a book that's as forthright as it is smart, funny and charming. Director Bobbie culls spirited, endearing performances.
"Bright Star" is Broadway-slick under Bobbie's direction and an appealing lead performance. But the sheer scale of the package overwhelms this sweet but slender homespun material. The sweetly melodic music sounds completely authentic. But after a bunch of choruses, they also sound repetitive.