Wright State presents Steve Martin’s bluegrass musical ‘Bright Star’

Wright State University presents the local collegiate premiere of legendary comedian/banjoist Steve Martin and indie rock artist Edie Brickell’s 2016 Tony Award-nominated musical “Bright Star” Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 2-4.

Spanning 20 years in North Carolina, this humorous, inspirational bluegrass/folk tale account explores faith, family, forgiveness and redemption.

New York Times critic Charles Isherwood said of the original production, “The musical is gentle-spirited, not gaudy, and moves with an easygoing grace.”



“Bright Star” is directed by guest artist Leslie Goddard Baum and choreographed by guest artist Tracey Bonner. Staff music director Matt Ebright will lead a band that includes both professional instrumentalists and numerous actor-musicians from within the cast.

Baum is a Broadway veteran ofHairspray,” and national tours of “Jersey Boys,” “Showboat” and “The Sound of Music.” She appeared locally in the Human Race Theatre Company’s “The Full Monty” and “Lizzie.” She’s well-known in Cincinnati for her directing work as well.

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Bonner is a former faculty member at Northern Kentucky University, who’s professional credits include “Swing!” at The Carnegie and numerous regional and university productions, as well as her performance work across the country.

“Initially, I was attracted to ‘Bright Star’ because it tells an epic tale spanning generations, has fun and powerful music, and puts relationships at the forefront,” Baum said. “Then, I discovered that the show is based on a true story and I was totally hooked! The students have been so wonderful to work with on this project. They came with research, questions, ideas, and energy. It’s been inspiring to me to work with such curious and creative students.



The tuneful score includes “If You Knew My Story,” “Asheville,” “Sun’s Gonna Shine,” “At Long Last” and the sunny title tune.

“’Bright Star’ has all the feels,” added Baum. “It is joyful, heartbreaking, funny, and fortifying. I hope audiences are prepared to go on the ride with this amazing cast.”

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What: “Bright Star”

Where: Herbst Theatre of the Festival Playhouse of the Creative Arts Center at Wright State University, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton

When: Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 2-4; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.

Cost: $15 for adults; $10 for seniors; $5 students

Tickets: Call 937-775-2500 or visit www.wright.edu/theatre

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