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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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.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

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

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

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

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


"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 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

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

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

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

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


"'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

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

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


"'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

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

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

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

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

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“‘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.” 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

BackStage Barbie

"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." 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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Refreshing, Cliched, Great singing, Great choreography

See it if Carmen Cusack is in it. She makes the show worth seeing. Music is refreshing, choreography is innovative. But Carmen's voice tells a story.

Don't see it if Bluegrass drives you nuts or you aren't up for a far-fetched story with a twist you can see coming from a mile away.

Delightful, Resonant, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like bluegrass and/or country music and want to see a feel-good show with good music and strong acting.

Don't see it if you don't like bluegrass music and/or you want to see a show that's a bit more unpredictable or edgy.

Absorbing, Clever, Exquisite, Romantic, Great staging

See it if You like feel-good stories; soulful southern country style music.

Don't see it if You don't like country music; don't like stories that are too perfect.

Beautiful, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if If you like bluegrass and a great story

Don't see it if Not a fan of bluegrass

Also This show was so beautifully done. I laughed and cried. The actors whe... Read more Read less

Delightful, Quirky, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like broadway infused with some country music.

Don't see it if you expect a glamourous, full-blown production.

Also National treasure, Carmen Cusack, is truly amazing in the show!

Great acting, Romantic, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you are looking for a wonderful show of great music and an amazing story. The show is very surprising and features blue grass music.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of blue grass music.

Clever, Great acting, Resonant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You are seeking a moving musical with a fresh score.

Don't see it if You do not enjoy country/bluegrass music.

Delightful, Entertaining, Great music

See it if you like bluegrass music and strong performers. It's worth seeing for the music alone.

Don't see it if you don't like far-fetched plots. This wrapped up a bit too neatly for my tastes.

Delightful, Romantic, Dated, Great singing, Fluffy


Don't see it if you don't like bluegrass-ish music or a somewhat unoriginal/predictable storyline.

Clever, Delightful, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you love a good banjo strum, a happy love story intertwined through the decades.

Don't see it if You arent a blue grass, banjo fan

Funny, Delightful, Great singing, Optimistic

See it if you love a feel good, classic Broadway story and enjoy the emergence of fantastic new talent - Carmen Cusack is a goddess!

Don't see it if You don't like bluegrass or folk music. If you hate the banjo this is not the show for you (but you should really give it a chance!)

Also Such a delightful show, I'm devasted that is closed so quickly. I laug... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Riveting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like a feel good show with good music and dancing.

Don't see it if you want surprise twists. The plot was a bit predictable.

Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing, Great singing, A-bluegrass-masterpiece!

See it if If you love Bluegrass Music, and great Old-Timey Country singing circa 1920s.

Don't see it if Infanticide is a topic that just too disturbing to see, and / or hear about in any incarnation.

Also Bright Star was a show that I saw in another incarnation. It was a one... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Romantic, Predictable, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You've enjoyed Steve Martin's banjo music already, want a mysterious story with a tremendous lead actress & are looking for a sweet show.

Don't see it if You want to be completely surprised by an ending. You like your musicals with more typical show tunes. You want famous performers.

Delightful, Enchanting, Exquisite, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want a super cute show with great music and great singing.

Don't see it if You do not like bluegrass music or need a deep story.

Delightful, Enchanting, Exquisite, Riveting, Cliched

See it if If you want to see incredible performances with a beautiful story and score. Or if you like Steve Martin.

Don't see it if If you don't like Steve Martin's work. Or if you prefer something a little more original.

Banal, Confusing, Excruciating, Cliched, Overrated

See it if you feel incomplete without seeing every single Broadway show, no matter how awful. And ONLY then.

Don't see it if you have standards.

Also Here's my summary of Act 1's arc: nothing, nothing, no stakes, no chem... Read more Read less

Romantic, Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you are a fan of bluegrass and enjoy light, predictable fare.

Don't see it if you don't like overly sweet stories.

Delightful, Intense, Refreshing, Romantic, Great singing

See it if you like bluegrass tunes, you want to be moved by something original and bowled over by the talent of Carmen Cusack.

Don't see it if banjos give you hives.

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

Original, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You like bluegrass music. You enjoy stories about love and redemption. You want a feel-good musical.

Don't see it if You can't suspend belief for an evening. Also, some lyrics could have used more work, even though the music itself is good.

Funny, Original, Delightful, Must see, Great staging

See it if you go to the theater.

Don't see it if See it!

Delightful, Refreshing, Romantic, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to see inspired and imaginative staging and great performances

Don't see it if you don't like blue-grass type music

Original, Delightful, Romantic, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you support original scores on Broadway and want to see/hear a terrific, star-making lead performance.

Don't see it if you can't deal with a bit of a contrived plot and weak lyrics.

Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Riveting, Great singing

See it if You like big, emotional stories with great music

Don't see it if You're a New York theatre critic, since none of them knows what a good musical is

Cast & Creatives (32)