Bright Star now playing at the Rosebud Theatre Opera House

Bright Star Band

The musical Bright Star is playing on the Rosebud Theatre Opera House stage March 29 - May 25.

The single word that comes to my mind in trying to summarize the story or the impact is “powerful”. And yet even this seems inadequate.

Perhaps mentioning that the music, story and script comes from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell would begin to explain to some, how “powerful” would be applicable. Steve Martin, according to Director Morris Ertman “is one of the most well-known and pervasive talents in entertainment. His work has earned him an Academy Award, five Grammy Awards, (two for comedy, three for music) an Emmy…” and others.

Quoting Director Ertman again, he says of “Bright Star”: “I’ve been wanting to put this musical on our stage for several years now, and here we are! It’s an epic story that jumps between post-war 1940s and the 1920s, with the past informing the present and the possibilities of the future all built into its sweeping storyline.”

The production is billed as a “musical” but by that we must not be misled to think that it is some kind of Disney fluff or entertainment like “Mary Poppins” or a Rodger’s and Hammerstein “Oklahoma” etc.

Music Director, Bill Hamm in trying to frame the music has to tell us what it is not. So he says: “It’s not bluegrass. It’s not country. It’s not old-time. It’s not hillbilly. Not pop. Not blues or classic rock. Hmm, the safe answer is that it is folk music.” Then he describes some of emotions expressed, mentions the many instruments employed and the fact that “of the 14 performers in our production, only one doesn’t have lines as an actor, and only three performers do not play an instrument. … There is lots of solo singing, duets, trios, and an ever-present chorus that cheer on the main characters. “Classic Folk” let’s call it.”

Alixandra Cowman plays the starring role of Alice Murphy and the very first words are expressed in a strong clear voice declaring “If you knew my story, You’d have a hard time believing me, You’d think I was lying.” From there we are immediately caught up in this story, and it simply is “not fair” to the story or the performers or to the spectators before they see it to tell much more about it. There is just such life in every line, whether spoken or sung, and the choreography that “powerful” just comes back as a wave to describe the whole production.

The cast includes a number that those attending Rosebud Theatre shows will recognize as “stars”. Probably mentioning that Travis Friesen (who in this production plays the part of Jimmy Ray, and the mandolin and drum) and Zach Running Coyote playing the part of Daryl Ames, and the guitar) are known locally---Travis Friesen as part of the Wheatland Band and Zach as resident of Three Hills.

It is permissible to let the reader know that the character Alice Murphy is the editor of the Ashville Southern Journal a magazine that publishes stories and articles of new and promising writers. Another character, Billy Cane, (played by Felix LeBlanc) is one such aspiring writer. Here, one who is a writer, or would-be writer, will find a good bit of “information” and humour as the ‘editor’ discusses and/or dismisses grammatical structure and writing form.

This presentation in the Rosebud Theatre is the Canadian Premiere. To be able to take it in, is a special opportunity.