Bright Star
Closed 2h 30m
Bright Star
83

Bright Star NYC Reviews and Tickets

83%
(1005 Reviews)
Positive
89%
Mixed
9%
Negative
2%
Members say
Entertaining, Delightful, Great singing, Original, Great staging

About the Show

In this musical by actor-writer Steve Martin and '80s pop icon Edie Brickell, a young man returns from WWII to his North Carolina home and uncovers dark secrets about his past.

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Member Reviews (1005)

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80
Romantic, Entertaining, Cliched, Funny, Great singing

See it if You want to see an original blue grass musical with a lead actress that's glorious!

Don't see it if You can't be happy with a show that's got some great music but is a bit slim on story.

86
Original, Entertaining, Refreshing, Delightful, Charming

See it if you want a fresh, wholly original musical with clever staging, a striking bluegrass score and a remarkable Broadway debut (Carmen Cusack).

Don't see it if you have no heart. (This a truly lovely show.) Or if you don't understand the difference between allegory and realistic storytelling.

85
Great acting, Beautiful, Original, Great music, Affecting

See it if you love to get swept up in a beautiful story.

Don't see it if you want a giant blockbuster type show.

84
Absorbing, Delightful, Original, Romantic, Refreshing

See it if You really enjoy banjo/bluegrass music, as it has a stunning score.

Don't see it if You feel like you've seen enough World War II-era romances.

95
Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Must see, Original

See it if You want to experience fantastic acting, singing and music. Carmen Cusack was particularly wonderful. But all were excellent.

Don't see it if You don't like bluegrass (although you might be pleasantly surprised). There are serious aspects to the show which might be upsetting.

55
Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Fluffy, Insipid

See it if you want to watch an excellent lead actress in Carmen Cusack.

Don't see it if you want something new, fresh and stimulating. Don't see if you want a well written script, good lyrics and choreography.

62
Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Great staging, Awful book

See it if you love blue grass music, GREAT choreography, an interesting set, good performances

Don't see it if you want a plot that isn't 100% predictable well before intermission. So much foreshadowing! Lose that damn electric train.

84
Quirky, Refreshing, Charming, lovely music

See it if you like great blue grass music, simple fast paced staging, a big very talented cast of all ages and a sweet but slightly silly story.

Don't see it if you only like big splashy musicals, you're seeking memorable songs or a plausible plot. This is a sweet simple fable, on a smallish scale.

Critic Reviews (68)

The New York Times
March 24th, 2016

"The musical is gentle-spirited, not gaudy, and moves with an easygoing grace where others prance and strut. And it tells a sentiment-spritzed story...While the story certainly skirts (if not embraces) sentimentality and the overripeness of melodrama, the production’s soft-hued style keeps it from curdling into treacle. The songs boast simple but seductive melodies, and lyrics that have a sweet, homespun quality. The mostly acoustic score is beautifully played."
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Time Out New York
March 24th, 2016

"'Bright Star' aspires to be what the older Alice asks from a young fiction writer: 'a sweeping tale of pain and redemption'. But it cries out for an editor’s sharp blue pen. Sweeping? In lieu of the color that the story seems to call for, Bobbie’s production is often actively plain...Painful? For the audience, perhaps...It does, however, have a genuine redeeming feature in Cusack...If not much else, the musical does right by its star, the bright spot in a sky of murk."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 24th, 2016

"'Bright Star' is 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. There’s a lot to like in 'Bright Star' and a lot to admire in the way it was made...How the stories intersect with the songs is the larger problem here. The mostly bluegrass score sounds great but almost always does exactly the opposite of what a story-based musical requires."
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The Hollywood Reporter
March 24th, 2016

"There's a disarming sweetness and sincerity to this folksy Americana bluegrass musical which makes the tuneful melodrama a pleasurable experience. It also helps that talented lead Carmen Cusack brings such integrity and warmth to her performance...Brickell's lyrics lack imagination and specificity, and can seem awkwardly pasted onto gentle melodies that at times become a little samey...It's easy to overlook the shortcomings of the musical's craft and go with its sweet-natured optimism."
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Entertainment Weekly
March 24th, 2016

"'Bright Star' often verges on corny, particularly in the second act as the plotlines come together. The set is unfussy but suits the story well...But it’s Martin and Brickell’s music that’s the brightest star in 'Bright Star'. The bluegrass sounds complement the show’s setting and era, Americana music with layered harmonies and beautiful use of banjo and fiddle. Not every song is a winner, but there are stirring ballads and toe-tapping numbers throughout that audience members will enjoy."
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Variety
March 24th, 2016

"'Bright Star' is Broadway-slick, with top-rung creatives involved and an appealing lead performance from Carmen Cusack. But the sheer scale of the package overwhelms this sweet but slender homespun material...Martin is an accomplished banjo player and the music he writes with Brickell sounds completely authentic...they also sound repetitive...The big drawback to the chatty lyrics is that they re-hash the plot’s melodramatic content, but neglect to deepen or explore the characters."
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The Wall Street Journal
March 24th, 2016

"Martin is a good banjo player who writes not-so-great plays. Now he’s branched out by writing a really bad bluegrass-pop musical...The best thing about 'Bright Star' is the music, which is bland and undramatic but competently wrought. The plot is trite, the dialogue humorless and stiff, the lyrics stupefyingly banal. The cast and band work hard and Bobbie does his best to breathe life into the show, but if Martin’s name weren’t on the marquee, it wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near Broadway."
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Deadline
March 24th, 2016

"Skip 'Bright Star,' the unfortunate musical...this earnest but soggy mess. 'Bright Star' reeks of condescension, from the twangy accents to the charm layered on like dollar perfume and the thigh-slapping slap-happy dances...However, the songs are, in and of themselves, striking...But nothing really takes flight in 'Bright Star'. It’s as earthbound as the folks it wants to celebrate."
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Chicago Tribune
March 24th, 2016

"Martin forged score, book and story for this wholly original musical—a piece that, despite its tonal unevenness and frequent, needless diversions from truth, still feels like a significant, distinctive and artful entry into the Broadway repertory...It would be an even-better thing if this show acknowledged the racial complexities of the era of its setting...A moving story that got under my skin despite some resistance, and a score that elevates the Broadway-bluegrass fusion."
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New York Post
March 24th, 2016

"The weird thing about 'Bright Star' is the way 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...The show’s droll, earnest tone does have its appeal. Fans of Martin’s humor will find evidence of it here...As a gentle fable, 'Bright Star' has a quirky charm, but its stubborn refusal to face up to its dark side diminishes it."
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New York Daily News
March 24th, 2016

"The show isn’t a bullseye. But it’s sweet and tender and boasts a fine cast...Martin and Brickell’s bluegrassy score is mellow and pretty. But it’s also repetitive — melodically and lyrically...The show could have cut some too...Director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Josh Rhodes keep the show chugging along. An elevated toy train set adds amusing atmosphere...Cusack, a Broadway rookie, consistently shines — even when 'Bright Star' doesn’t."
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AM New York
March 24th, 2016

“'Bright Star' is a total anomaly. It’s wholly original and unashamedly sentimental and romantic, with a country-folk score and no well-known actors in the cast...The storytelling can be jumbled, improbable and sappy, and the characters are undeveloped. Nevertheless, it is a heartwarming and crowd-pleasing musical, sporting many pleasant country songs, a sunny disposition and a Southern Gothic flavor."
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NY1
March 25th, 2016

"Initially, there are enjoyable elements. The onstage band is lively and quick-fingered, and director Walter Bobbie’s overall production has a fresh, whimsical feel...Sadly, Edie Brickell’s awkward and obvious lyrics are hobbled by cheap rhymes...You will see the eleventh-hour revelations coming from a country mile away...Steve Martin’s jaunty bluegrass score may get your toes tapping, but only if the sappy and sketchy plot does not drive you out at intermission."
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Theatermania
March 24th, 2016

"Those in the market for an old-fashioned, feel-good show should check out 'Bright Star,' Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's charming but somewhat underdeveloped new musical...The rhymes are often forced and the lyrics repetitive...Luckily, the delightful bluegrass music keeps us blissfully distracted most of the time...Judging from the moist eyes that surrounded me, these ham-fisted oversights won't do much to dampen the enjoyment Broadway audiences get from Bright Star, a joyous new show."
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BroadwayWorld
March 24th, 2016

"The new Southern Gothic musical shows all the signs of being written by a pair who have not quite grasped some of the basics of the genre's craft...A lack of lyrical specificity plagues much of the score, limiting variety in the way the characters express themselves. When the authors do deliver a pair of dramatic second act songs to serve the storytelling, the music and lyrics are embarrassingly heavy-handed...Nice music, fine performances, but other than that, barely a twinkle."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 28th, 2016

"'Bright Star' is filled with people busily coming and going, but not acquiring any interest or complexity. Near the end, when the big secret is out, there should be plenty of displacement and upset to go around; instead, everyone is hustled into a happy-ending tableau that feels almost comically unearned. What allure 'Bright Star' has comes from Martin and Brickell's music, which has the melancholy pull of a great country ballad...Brickell's lyrics are another matter."
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Talkin' Broadway
March 24th, 2016

"Despite the vibrant life pulsating from the bluegrass that underscores 'Bright Star' the overwhelming feeling that emanates from this new musical is the exhaustion of cliché...The chief problem here is that, outside of the delightful music, there's nothing new in either the story or the telling of it that energizes the drama...Cusack is a coruscating force of nature as Alice...It's not enough to elevate the evening above the pedestrian."
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TheaterScene.net
March 31st, 2016

"'Bright Star' rises—just barely—above Hallmark Network romance level thanks to its energetic score...and an astonishing, charismatic performance by Carmen Cusack...The problem is that an evening of bluegrass and banjo strumming can verge on the monotonous...Brickell’s lyrics also tend toward the repetitious and trite...Walter Bobbie keeps the pace moving without stinting on the drama or comedy. His first-rate production almost makes the surprising plot devices credible."
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Theater Pizzazz
April 1st, 2016

"The lively hootenanny, hand- and thigh-slapping choreography is accomplished by the talents of Josh Rhodes, while director Walter Bobbie makes magic in moving this large cast around seamlessly…'Bright Star' has a down-home warmth that draws the audience into its glow, making the 2 hours, 30 minutes more than entertaining."
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CurtainUp
March 30th, 2016

"'Bright Star' is unlikely to become part of the canon of groundbreaking musicals with memorably meaningful stories. But, it's chockablock with assets to make for an enjoyable, feel-good two hours...So give in to 'Bright Star's' charms, as I did, and let the nitpickers complain. Yes, it's headed from the get-go to an inevitably happy ending that relies on some pretty far-fetched contrivances...But with Carmen Cusack as Alice, this is your chance to see a-star-is-born Broadway debut."
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Front Row Center
March 29th, 2016

"Carmen Cusack knocks the ball out of the park…You can see the conclusion coming a mile away, but the show is so exquisite in every way that you don’t mind watching everything unfold...Scenes could be trimmed...The cast is a marvel of ensemble work…All in all it is an evening that will take you out of the city and off to the mysterious magic of the Appalachians for two decades of stories that will get you in all the right places: Head, heart, and all the way down to the toes of your feet."
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T
April 5th, 2016

"An old-fashioned Broadway musical with pleasing music, agreeable lyrics, and an engaging book...The musical’s story is also universal and engaging. Its themes are important and life-affirming…The cast, under Walter Bobbie’s careful direction is uniformly magnificent…'Bright Star' is not perfect–some of the story seems contrived and sometimes predictable–but director Walter Bobbie keeps the musical moving forward with an intensity and freshness that is remarkable and noteworthy."
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Broadway Blog
March 25th, 2016

"Martin and Brickell’s score is a celebration of American folk music, filled with soaring string arrangements...At its core, Ms. Cusack delivers a beautifully honest performance...Its final scenes may push the suspension of disbelief in a way that doesn’t necessarily serve the greater story...But one dissonant chord cannot deny the show’s genuine charm. 'Bright Star' delivers a unique voice in a season full of heavy hitters. Hopefully it will find its audience and continue to shine bright."
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C
March 25th, 2016

"A certain percentage of theatergoers won’t really be able to get past Martin’s overly earnest, structurally muddled and often tonally questionable libretto...Cusack flawlessly embodies Murphy in both periods with grit and vulnerability, which goes a long way to helping us overlook the show’s flaws...As for Martin and Brickell’s score, it pleases the ear on first listening...That’s why I am glad they still make CDs, because I really couldn’t make it through a second viewing of 'Bright Star.'"
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Theatre's Leiter Side
March 24th, 2016

"Enjoyable as much of it is, ‘Bright Star’...may not shine as brightly in Broadway’s constellation as some of its more unique and noteworthy competitors. It’ll be interesting to see if its pleasing bluegrass score, strong performances, and smart staging are enough to compensate for its thin book, melodramatically coincidental premise, stereotypical Southern-fried characters, and conventional situations."
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The Stage (UK)
March 24th, 2016

"After collaborating on two bluegrass albums, Martin and Brickell decided to create a musical around the songs. The result is 'Bright Star', a tuneful, well-performed display of American roots music...Its sweet score makes up for the preposterous if occasionally moving story...This straightforward if complicated plot starts to merge, taking turns so improbable (and yet so predictable)...'Bright Star' largely insists on the earnest, sentimental tone of an old-fashioned musical."
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The Clyde Fitch Report
March 25th, 2016

"Bluegrass-y, Southern-Gothic-y 'Bright Star,' which is directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Josh Rhodes with a sleekness that makes your head spin with giddy delight...When an audience member is inspired to think ahead of the creative team it can make a protracted second act that much longer. It felt like I was waiting for the inevitable to occur...On the formidable plus-side, there’s much more to say of the 'Bright Star' score...Yet the real heroes here are Bobbie and Rhodes"
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The Guardian (UK)
March 24th, 2016

"'Bright Star' is still suffering some issues of scale. The story it tells is a small and tender one and the staging and the music, playful and lovely, sometimes struggle to fill the house...If there are a few too many numbers here, nearly all of them are sparkish...Cusack is nuanced and forceful...Paul Alexander Nolan plays her one-time lover and it’s a treat to see him in what initially is a more playful role...Their combined energy and allure lend the musical lustre."
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Upstage-Downstage
April 18th, 2016

"'Bright Star' boasts a lively and lovely bluegrass score...If you like the toe-tapping sounds of banjos, fiddles, and guitars, there’s plenty of that on hand, and it’s all good. The story Brickell and Martin tell falls in tone somewhere between realism and folk tale, a mix that doesn’t always blend smoothly but one that gets the job done and opens the way for the excellent cast to win our hearts...Cusack's is one of those magical debuts that can launch a performer to stardom.”
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The Wrap
March 24th, 2016

"The 'Bright Star' bluegrass score features more twangs per dipthong than a whole evening of 'Tobacco Road'. This is the third bluegrass musical to open in New York City in the last two weeks. More of these and Broadway will run out of fiddles and banjos, I’m praying...Time will tell if this musical makes the walls of Joe Allen restaurant’s gallery of flops. On the walls of my mind, 'Bright Star' has already taken its place between last season’s 'Doctor Zhivago' and 1979’s 'Got Tu Go Disco'.”
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USA Today
March 24th, 2016

"'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...The score poses a few challenges...Some of the more delicate ballads seem to strain for theatricality...The tone in which that story is delivered can also wobble a bit, especially later on...Still this gently shining 'Star' holds its own."
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Newsday
March 24th, 2016

"It doesn’t shy away from the cornball or the unapologetically sentimental. And, yes, the plot is implausibly romantic and hinged on coincidence. Along with all that, however, 'Bright Star' is also downright wonderful...As the relationships deepen and darken, the show grows with the complexity of a juicy short story...Then there’s the score, which builds with rhythmic surprises, melodic complexity and the deep satisfaction of humming and plucking strings."
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Towleroad
March 25th, 2016

"There is something winning and infectious about 'Bright Star'...Even with a sweet ending that’s predictable by intermission, its charms are enough to engage viewers along the way...The assembled cast is uniformly strong, but the show belongs to Ms. Cusack...Martin brings a clever hand to the musical’s book, mixing earnest, sometimes poetic storytelling with welcome laughs...But I do have to say—and I really wish I didn’t—that it’s aggravatingly vanilla."
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The Huffington Post
May 16th, 2016

“The simplicity of folksy ‘Bright Star’ is in the economy of Walter Bobbie’s direction and Eugene Lee’s set design...And while the musicians, including a standout fiddler, are only partially seen, their music is notable...Even for those who aren’t bluegrass fans, the score is a winner. ‘Bright Star’ is a traditional musical with a dark edge. No bells and whistles, just heart and soul."
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WNBC
March 24th, 2016

"There’s much to admire in the final product: The musical is twangy and tightly performed, with a sweeping score. My enjoyment was muted only by the mostly modest character development...Of Martin’s book, I felt that too often I was being told what to feel, without being given opportunity to feel it...I’m sure there are great hopes riding on 'Bright Star'. It’s not a perfect musical; this 'Star' doesn’t always guide the way, but at times it beams brightly enough."
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M
March 25th, 2016

"An astoundingly uneven stew...Most of this glum narrative plays out in exceedingly sincere fashion...Still, it has its moments, but then come a series of relentlessly happy endings that not only challenge credibility but almost make the whole enterprise seem ridiculous. This unevenness is reflected in Walter Bobbie’s direction and Josh Rhodes’ choreography...What is spectacular about the show is the score."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
March 31st, 2016

"I found their story engrossing, entertaining, and very moving...The music is lively, but the fiddle and the banjo can only go so far to interestingly cover some twenty songs...I thought the melodies embellished the story more than the lyrics did, but the story itself, though somewhat predictable, is neatly told and very well crafted…There isn’t a lemon in this boatload of performing talent...Walter Bobbie has blended them all together into a refreshing smoothie of a musical."
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Out Magazine
March 28th, 2016

"Country hokum gets some slick packaging with 'Bright Star'...The plot veers back and forth between the two eras, sometimes intertwining them, buoyed by the lilting country and bluegrass influenced score (which only bogs down in melodramatic moments) and fluid direction...It’s nicely pulled off though the characters and plot sometimes come off a little mushy, as if out of a Hallmark movie."
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NJ.com
March 25th, 2016

"An unconvincing mix of tender romance and harrowing tragedy...Brickell and Martin's story features two big twists, one of them completely bizarre and implausible, and the other painfully hokey and predictable. The effect is to drain any tension from the hurried second act, and to reduce these potentially complex characters to two-dimensional pawns...Still, the music steadily delivers...And with the lovely Cusack, making her Broadway debut, a star is born."
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Epoch Times
May 9th, 2016

"There’s warmth and anguish aplenty in the 'Bright Star'...Cusack turns in a dynamite performance...The score is delightful and much of it provides an authentic bluegrass feel...'Bright Star' is not perfect—the book needs work at points—but it does offer a powerful example of the effect family has on a person’s life and how, when a real and honest love is added to the mix, it can be a wonderful thing indeed."
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Off Script with Dan Dwyer
May 1st, 2016

“‘Bright Star’ isn’t the trendiest of new musicals, but it’s one of the most affecting that has opened in the pre-Tony nomination flood, not so much for its unapologetically traditional story or its wholesome, old-fashioned theme, but for its overall emotional coherence...Even though it’s not too too hard to figure how the play will conclude, I felt as if I had discovered something fresh and new.”
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The Associated Press
March 24th, 2016

"The show never hits an honest note and seems to have been written by two people who adore classic Broadway musicals but who have intentionally decided to make a third-rate version. The music is weak...The book and lyrics are even more feeble, with graceless lines and weird characters...The show, so long exploring lost love, then descends into virtual farce before ending on such a forced happy note and with such swiftness that it'll knock the corndog out of your hand."
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Reflections in the Light
March 29th, 2016

"Mostly it’s a pretty predictable plot without much happening...The opening number was so contrived with characters stepping out into spotlight to tell their stories that I wondered whether I had wandered into a high-school production...This musical feels like an unpolished early draft that has potential but needs work...Brickell’s score is pleasant but not very memorable...I salute the idea of putting a wholesome musical on Broadway. I just wish the packaging was wrapped more neatly."
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Reviewing The Drama
March 24th, 2016

"The predictability is disappointing. Despite said predictability, the ending is moving because, well, we're humans...But the predictability equals a lack of investment, so while heading toward that moving ending, rather than rooting for the characters, you just feel like the train that's chugging along the top of the stage. It's not an entirely tedious ride, though...The stars of the show shine brightly, but the whole of 'Bright Star' just doesn't live up to the pedigree of its parts."
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American Theater Web
March 28th, 2016

"It's a sweet, romantic, sepia-toned look back to the first half of the 20th century that's beautifully supported by the score Martin and Brickell have written...Director Walter Bobbie, working with choreographer Josh Rhodes, deploys the structure that houses the band to help give the show a sweeping cinematic feel...The appealingly tuneful journey to the show's conclusion proves to be consistently satisfying and ultimately moving."
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StageZine
March 29th, 2016

"This down-home tale has a lot going for it, from energetic choreography by Josh Rhodes to a great cast directed by Walter Bobbie and a breakout performance from golden-voiced Carmen Cusack in the lead role...If one overlooks the two things that bog down 'Bright Star'—Ms. Brickell’s rhyming, often repetitious lyrics and the somewhat predictable plot—it’s easy to suspend disbelief and go with the saga…Cusak brings badly needed depth and veracity to the paper-thin material."
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Drama Queen NYC
March 27th, 2016

"Affable and inoffensive…The best thing about 'Bright Star' is the lovely, delicate and even sometimes sophisticated bluegrass music…There’s a rich vein of melody…The words are not nearly as successful. The plot is predictable...I had a decent enough time at 'Bright Star.' I recommend it to you mostly because its charms, though not insignificant, might be easy to miss on today’s Broadway."
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Show Showdown
April 15th, 2016

"There are some pretty musical numbers, some interesting staging, and a very impressive performance by Carmen Cusack...But the story is incredibly predictable, and the conclusion so contrived that the two women sitting next to me when I saw it collapsed into a fit of giggles and had trouble collecting themselves through the curtain call. I can't say I blamed them...We, too, were not prepared for how lame and forced the big reveal would be when it happened."
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Showbiz 411
March 25th, 2016

"The songs are lush and catchy, the performers are spot-on. The show has a real star in Cusack...The songs are strong given Martin’s banjo interests of the last 40 years and Brickell’s ability to write hooks. Plus Steve has taken the sometimes on-the-nose story and peppered it with enough humor to lighten the gloom that threatens to overcome the proceedings like a storm cloud but never does...A lot of the songs in 'Bright Star' are eminently hummable and should be covered by real country stars."
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Peconic Public Broadcasting
March 28th, 2016

"This little musical with a big heart and featuring lots of what one can call bluegrass music is really quite good, and the music and lyrics by Edie Brickell, which I thought I would hate, are terrific, just plain terrific…'Bright Star' could be the sleeper of the year in the world of musicals. It’s bright star should be shining a very long time on Broadway."
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Stu on Broadway
March 27th, 2016

"Let it suffice to say I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised. Wonderfully surprised with all aspects of the production...I wanted theater-goers to experience the musical without the filter of my critique and possibly come away exhilarated like myself. Therefore, my review is short, simple, and to the point. Go see 'Bright Star'. Be enchanted, moved, uplifted and maybe even shed a tear."
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Labor Press
March 31st, 2016

"The show moves quickly under the creative direction of Walter Bobbie. The lead is Carmen Cusack, who provides us with a charismatic and energetic performance…The plot is quirky and uneven, but stays with the theme that love triumphs. The sweet bluegrass music is a treat, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with this delightful musical form. The music adds a nostalgic charm and melody to the show which is memorable."
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BackStage Barbie
March 27th, 2016

"Though the structure and pacing of the book have serious flaws, the dialogue itself is sharp, witty, and dripping with appropriate Southern colloquialisms. The score, both homey and evocative, is hands down the best I’ve heard in a show that uses the country vernacular. Walter Bobbie’s direction is as swift and seamless as the clunky book will allow, using stylized movement rather than codified dance to express the melodies and transition between timelines and scenes."
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Simon Parris Man in Chair
March 30th, 2016

"Martin’s book contains many a welcome chuckle. Rob Berman’s music direction and vocal arrangements give the show the hint of a Broadway sound while maintaining the country feel...Anyone who watches soap operas will see where the story is going, but watching the elements fall into place is satisfying...Without a cynical note to be heard, 'Bright Star' is a warm and fuzzy, rose-coloured show for those who like to leave theatre with a smile."
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The Culture Mom
March 24th, 2016

"I was ambivalent about the show and where it was taking me. But...during act 2, I was completely riveted...There are banjos, guitars and violins playing the score, something I may not have been used to at first but I realized at the end that it all worked really, really well and set out to do what it meant to: tell a powerful story that left me and every audience member shedding a tear…or two…or three...The cast is also perfection...Cheers to Cusack who is marvelous."
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Mommy Factor
March 24th, 2016

"I absolutely loved the show. It was one of the best that I have seen. I have a feeling that this will become an instant hit on Broadway...From the genius minds of Grammy winners Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Tony Award-winning director Walter Bobbie comes 'Bright Star,' a musical that will tug at your heart strings...I don't want to give too much away but there is heartache and loss. You will laugh and cry but the music will carry you through."
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Act Three - The Reviews
February 27th, 2016

"Overall, the confusion generated in Act I couldn't be forgotten, but 'Bright Star' is a solid, heartwarming story...but a bit more work is needed to turn this into a Broadway hit. Make no mistake, the cast and crew were absolutely ready for their first Broadway performance and none of the criticism here is reflective of their top notch performance."
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The New York Times
September 29th, 2014
For a previous production

"At its best, 'Bright Star' seduces with its retro roots score and its sincerity in telling an old-fashioned story of love betrayed and redeemed...Still, clearing out some of the thick underbrush would be helpful if the musical moves forward. So would refashioning the dramatic climax...The crucial moment should be treated more gently, in keeping with the rest of the alluring music in 'Bright Star,' which never pushes too hard to achieve its effects."
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Variety
September 29th, 2014
For a previous production

"If too rarefied for Gotham’s embrace, this lyrical tuner could find ready acceptance regionally. Either way the storytelling would benefit from higher stakes and greater guts...There’s a sweeping tale of pain and redemption in 'Bright Star' clamoring to come out, and when it does, the movement to restore harmony and Arcadian balance will require less suspension of disbelief. We’ll happily waft along to down-home heaven, which is precisely where the show aims to take us."
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Theatermania
October 15th, 2014
For a previous production

"The audience knows exactly where the show is headed, and how it will get there. While the production feels traditional, it certainly doesn't sound like any other American musical...Bobbie and his talented cast and creative team wrap 'Bright Star' in a beautiful, ear-pleasing package. Let's hear it for old pros dabbling in new genres. This 'Star' is on the rise."
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Talkin' Broadway
October 3rd, 2014
For a previous production

"Here's what I liked most: an extraordinarily likeable cast, choreography that draws on folk traditions but doesn't overdo those traditions, and a really kick-ass band. The biggest factor in my enjoyment was Walter Bobbie's direction, which is by any standard the definition of fluidity...'Bright Star' expertly wears its heart on its sleeve, and as long as you're willing to take it on its own terms you'll be won over."
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Stage and Cinema
October 8th, 2014
For a previous production

"The unwieldy narrative, archetypal characters, and charming but mostly forgettable and derivative music cloud the view of this 'Bright Star.' Still, there’s freshness and appeal in the storytelling, and the director is at the top of his game...Once the fractured narrative becomes easier to follow in the second act, musical comedy heaven is upon us, and the tidy ending will leave you teary-eyed with a spring in your heart. For first-time musical writers, this is nothing short of a miracle."
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S
October 7th, 2014
For a previous production

"There’s a head-spinning amount of stuff going on, too much for the show’s own good. Locations shift on a dime, peripheral characters come and go without a trace and it all gets more confusing than necessary. That said, 'Bright Star' has a lot going for it: a fine cast of mostly Broadway veterans, a terrific orchestra, an imaginative set and excellent direction by Walter Bobbie...'Bright Star' has engaging characters, a listenable (if repetitive) score and gets a terrific production."
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San Diego Union-Tribune
September 29th, 2014
For a previous production

"Occasionally, 'Bright Star' can make you wonder whether some moments merit being turned into song at all...Still, it’s gratifying to see musical-theater newcomers step in and push the edges of the form with such fresh ideas. And 'Bright Star' is a show that brims with compelling elements. It might just need to find a better mix of storytelling fuel to keep its own light shining clear and true."
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Examiner
October 9th, 2014
For a previous production

"Martin and Brickell’s musical, banjo strumming, easy listening story, deftly directed by Walter Bobbie, takes us back to a time when things appeared to be simpler, but in the crisscrossing of the lives of the four central characters, it becomes more complicated than it needs to...That there are too many story lines is at the core of “Bright Stars” problems...'Bright Star' is captivating and inviting, original, creative and folksy, charming in an old-fashioned way as musicals go."
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San Diego Story
October 1st, 2014
For a previous production

"'Bright Star' is a very special show, one to be cherished and recalled from now on, the sort of reward that avid theatregoers dream of...There are some suggestions I might make. The song about the baby being taken away needs to be replaced. I’m still wondering about whatever happened to the mayor and the sister. But actually, this is one of those shows that you really don’t want to mess with. A very, VERY special show."
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UCSD The Guardian
October 16th, 2014
For a previous production

"Within the realm of bluegrass, 'Bright Star' presents a medley of high energy songs that effectively pull at the heartstrings with every pluck of the banjo, but in the end, it’s still bluegrass; if that’s not a preferred genre for the listener, then it’s difficult to fully appreciate the experience...The performance is worth a trip down to Balboa Park, especially for anyone who holds an affinity for country music or would like to try something unconventional as well."
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LA Weekly
October 1st, 2014
For a previous production

"A slickly produced, well-cast musical with superb arrangements, great playing from a bluegrass band augmented by strings, and two catchy numbers by the music writers. But there’s a catch. All this talent and care has been lavished on a product that should still be in the workshop... A weak book wouldn’t be such an impediment if the lyrics were great, but Brickell isn’t up to the task of putting simple yet eloquent words into the mouths of ordinary folks."
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Must See!
21K+ Reviews
Open run
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This all-ages musical spectacle tells the untold true story of the Witches of Oz.

86
Excellent
61 Reviews
Ends Jan 29
NYC: East Village

Sondheim's dark, TONY-winning musical comes to CSC in a new star-studded production. 

79
Good
147 Reviews
Ends Jan 16
NYC: Midtown W

Emmy winners Uzo Aduba and Ron Cephas Jones star in a play by two-time Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage.