New York | 2h 30m | Already closed

Bright Star

From 68 critic and 1,005 member reviews
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. More…

Inspired by a true event, this tuner is 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 her past. Together they discover a stunning secret with the power to transform their lives.

2h 30m | Already closed | Cort Theatre (Midtown W)

Mommy Factor

"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." Full Review

The New York Times

"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." Full Review

Front Row Center

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

“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." Full Review

Peconic Public Broadcasting

"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." Full Review

Stu on Broadway

"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." Full Review

The Culture Mom

"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." Full Review

American Theater Web

"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." Full Review

Simon Parris Man in Chair

"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." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"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." Full Review


"'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." Full Review


"'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.” Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"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." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"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." Full Review

USA Today

"'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." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"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." Full Review

Labor Press

"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." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"'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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

AM New York

“'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." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"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." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"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." Full Review

Out Magazine

"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." Full Review

Epoch Times

"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." Full Review

Absorbing, Great staging, Great singing, Must see, Refreshing

See it if you want to be pleasantly surprised! The staging was extremely creative and although not a fan of that type of music, it was so enjoyable.

Don't see it if you do not have an open mind to different types of music.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Great acting, Must see

See it if you want a heart warming story and amazing singing

Don't see it if you have a problem with the "twang" of bluegrass music

Thought-provoking, Romantic, Resonant, Masterful, Great staging

See it if Want to see the most original piece of Musical Theater You enjoy a surprise Enjoy Bluegrass Want to see some superb acting

Don't see it if You don't like the banjo

Original, Delightful, Great singing, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if You like bluegrass music, have a heart, love the South, enjoy uplifting theatre, love seeing performers give gut-wrenching performances.

Don't see it if Don't like bluegrass,

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful

See it if You love beautiful music and fascinating staging!!!

Don't see it if You really dislike country/blue grass music.

Also The performers were superb, the songs were catchy, and the staging was... Read more Read less


See it if I loved it

Don't see it if You are a negative person

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Hilarious, Refreshing

See it if you love bluegrass, something different, or Steve Martin.

Don't see it if you don't like bluegrass.

Refreshing, Romantic, Great staging, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you love anything Steve Martin

Don't see it if you don't like bluegrass music

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Exquisite, Great writing

See it if you want to see a great show. Loved everything about it.

Don't see it if nothing bad to say.

Enchanting, Great staging, Great singing

See it if Like bluegrass and shows which incorporate the very talented musicians.

Don't see it if you think your going to see Steve Martin or Edie Brickell

Absorbing, Exquisite, Funny, Must see, Great singing

See it if I was blown away. I had not idea what to expect and i fell in love. the music is amazing and the cast is top shelf. One of the best shows!

Don't see it if You don't like bluegrass music. otherwise go see it!!!

Profound, Refreshing, Original, Must see, Masterful

See it if You like country like music. Simple set. An amazing score with an awesome book!

Don't see it if Country music .... It's an amazing show! It has to be seen before it's too late

Delightful, Refreshing, Must see, Original, Great singing

See it if This show will make you laugh, cry, gasp and smile - really big. Carmen Cusack, Paul Alexander Nolan, & the cast are sensational!

Don't see it if You don't like bluegrass music.

Great staging, Great writing, Original, Riveting, Great singing

See it if You want to see Carmen Cusack in her breakout role.

Don't see it if you can't sit through an entire show of bluegrass music.

Intense, Delightful, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if you like southern accents, intense stories, and happy endings.

Don't see it if you have love.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Original, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if JUST GO SEE IT.

Don't see it if JUST GO SEE IT.

Original, Must see, Enchanting, Absorbing, Great singing

See it if You are interested in a show that will stay with you long past the curtain. You are willing to open your mind and be moved

Don't see it if You are not interested in a refreshing, moving, extraordinarily sung and acted performance.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You want to prove that Steve Martin is a REAL creative talent!

Don't see it if You don't want to be entertained!

Absorbing, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful, Clever

See it if You love creative direction, beautiful and dedicated acting

Don't see it if See it

Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Original, Refreshing

See it if You like Steve Martin! Want to see something DIFFERENT on the Broadway stage. If you are familiar with acting technique, it will impress.

Don't see it if Want to see an ethnically diverse cast.

Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if you want to experience alot of emotions at once. The story is so good, it makes you feel happy, then sad, then mad, then sad, then happy !!

Don't see it if you don't like bluegrass music. Other than that, I cant think of any reasons not to see it.

Clever, Delightful, Must see, Romantic, Great singing

See it if You love blue grass music, Steve Martin, feel-good musicals, musicals about the wars, musicals with strong woman, musicals about babies.

Don't see it if You don't like Bluegrass music or a great family story.

Funny, Must see, Original, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if You like blue grass music or country, a great story of never losing hope, and romance.

Don't see it if You are looking for a musical with sets and costume designs like Wicked.

Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Must see, Refreshing

See it if You like a sweet-and-simple show, bluegrass/country music, a kicka** lady

Don't see it if You're against alcohol puns

Entertaining, Edgy, Intense, Profound, Riveting

See it if You enjoy good acting and a great story

Don't see it if You don't enjoy country

Cast & Creatives (32)