a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Steve Martin’

Image

So Sad to Report that “Bright Star” Is Closing Sunday

Carmen Cusack2Broadway can be so cruel sometimes. It is with a heavy heart that I have to report the sad news that “Bright Star” my favorite show of this season is closing Sunday.  Sometimes I think that quality has no place on Broadway, where supposedly only the Best of Best are showcased. I could name several more than mediocre musicals that are running, but I will refrain from casting aspersions. It’s been a very crowded season for musicals unfortunately for “Bright Star.” But do yourself a favor, if you haven’t already done so and get the marvelous CD of the Original Cast with the stunning debut of Carmen Cusack, who was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical.

“Bright Star” was also nominated for Best Musical, but alas won neither award. TONYS do help keep shows open.

Here’s the Official Press Release I just got sent announcing its’ untimely demise.

2016 OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNING &

2016 TONY AWARD NOMINATED
BEST MUSICAL

 

STEVE MARTIN & EDIE BRICKELL’S

“ B R I G H T   S T A R ”

 

TO PLAY ITS FINAL BROADWAY PERFORMANCE ON

SUNDAY, JUNE 26

 

New York, NY – Producer Joey Parnes today announced that Bright Star, the new musical from 2016 Tony Award nomineesSteve Martin and Edie Brickell, will play its final Broadway performance on Sunday, June 26, after 30 preview and 109 regular performances.

 

Bright Star, with direction by Tony Award® winner Walter Bobbie and choreography by Josh Rhodes, began performances on Thursday, February 25th, 2016 at the Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street), and opened officially on Thursday, March 24thIt went on to win the 2016 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Score and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music.  It also received five 2016 Tony Awards nominations, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Lead Actress in a Musical, and Best Orchestrations.

 

“So much of Bright Star’s beauty comes from the fact that it is utterly free of irony,” said Joey Parnes.  “In these cynical times, this quality proved to be totally refreshing to audience members, and also created a unique challenge in attracting them.  I am so proud of this show, and I am glad that Steve, Edie and Walter, and this incredible company, brought its unique spirit to our city, if only for a while.”

 

The original cast recording of Bright Star is now available everywhere, and charted on five different Billboard lists in its first week of wide release.  The cast album from Ghostlight Records placed at #1 on the Top Current Blue Grass Albums chart, #2 on the Top Broadway chart, #5 on the Americana/Folk Albums chart, as well as hitting the Top 100 on the Billboard Top Albums chart and Top 200 on the Overall Digital Albums chart. The album is produced by the legendary, multi-Grammy Award-winning producer, manager, and musician Peter Asher.

 

Carmen Cusack has made one of the most buzzed about and raved over Broadway debuts in recent memory as Alice, a role she originated in Bright Star’s world premiere production, and is joined by co-stars Paul Alexander Nolan, Tony Award®nominee Michael Mulheren, A.J. Shively, Hannah Elless, Tony Award® nominee Stephen Bogardus, three-time Tony Award®nominee Dee Hoty, Stephen Lee Anderson, Emily Padgett, Tony Award® nominee Jeff Blumenkrantz, along with Maddie Shea Baldwin, Allison Briner-Dardenne, Max Chernin, Patrick Cummings, Sandra DeNise, Richard Gatta, Lizzie Klemperer, Michael X. Martin, William Michals, Tony Roach, Sarah Jane Shanks and William Youmans.

The design team for Bright Star includes Tony and Emmy Award® winner Eugene Lee (Scenic Design), Tony Award® winnerJane Greenwood (Costume Design), Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman (Lighting Design), Tony Award nominee Nevin Steinberg (Sound Design), Tom Watson (Hair and Wig Design), Grammy Award® winner Peter Asher (Music Supervision), Rob Berman (Musical Direction and Vocal Arrangements), August

Eriksmoen (Orchestrations), and Howie Cherpakov (Casting).

#Bright Star

 

Dreamy, Hypnotic, Superlative!Original Cast CD of “Bright Star” Is All That and More!

Bright Star 1Carmen Cusack2Four Stars!+++ This year’s Outer Critics Circle winner of Best Musical “Bright Star” now has its’ Original Cast CD available and it’s a beauty!Dreamy, hypnotic, superlative, this gem of a recording captures everything that is great and swoon-worthy about this stupendous, original show. Music and lyrics by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, who are now my favorite Bway duo. And their great leading lady, Carmen Cusack’s magnificent voice wails, swoops and soars into Bway history as she makes her astounding Bway  debut.

Country and Western, too, since “Bright Star” is first and last a bluegrass musical. I have to admit to not being a fan of this well-worn genre, but now I am! That’s how transportative the music of “Bright Star” is! And if you’re already a country and western afficionado, well, “Bright Star” will be right up your Nashville alley!

The story of a young woman in the earlier part of the last century living in the rural South and trying to find herself, and love, in a society that can only be called repressive, I am so glad to report that “Bright Star”s trills and thrills have all been carefully and lovingly recorded for posterity, and you’ll be able to listen to its’ musical joys over and over again. As I’m doing right now.

It’s the soundtrack of a life and starts with the killer “If You Knew My Story” which introduces the full throated Ms. Cusack right at the top of the show, wailing in her husky, mesmeric contralto and leaning against the porch post of her A-frame shack that’s about to spin her and us into Musical Comedy history.Bright Star 3

The level of achievement of all involved is so high, it’s breath-taking. I cried my way through the first act the last time I saw it, and I can’t help listening to Carmen Cusack’s  rueful, country wail without thinking of the tragedy that awaits her stalwart, brave character.

And did I mention that Steve Martin and Edie Brickell Bright Star 2wrote this wonderful, catchy, plaintive music that never veres far from the banjo Martin is so proud of playing at the drop of a hat. “Bright Star” justifies this mystifying transition of his. From stand up comic to great Bway composer. I want to go out and buy all their CDs  now. I’m a fan. And “Bright Star” Original Cast will make you a fan, too.

Carmen Cusack is not alone in her musical whirl. Paul Alexander Logan and A.J.Shively also shine as the young men in her life, and all sing like there’s no tomorrow.

“Way Back in the Day”, “Bright Star”, “The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again”, “I Am Blinded” and “At Last” all soar and are so darn catchy, you’ll be humming all of them in your head til the cows come home. And this is from a critic who was born and raised in the Bronx!

# Bright Star CD

“Bright Star” Shines on Bway w/terrific debut by Carmen Cusack

Bright Star 5Carmen Cusack 1A  tuneful, ORGINAL new musical is a very rare thing these days on Broadway, but “Bright Star” is just that.  It is really a cause for jubilation. And comedian Steve Martin, of all people, is the power generator behind this welcome bluegrass musical marvel. Edie Brickell, a pop star singer/songwriter who was previously unknown to me, is his musical partner in crime here, and what a delight-filled evening of song they make!

I’ve always felt that a successful musical comedy should just be one wonderful song after the other after the other, and one so rarely sees that anymore on Broadway, but “Bright Star” is just that. The first four numbers alone are so strong and singable “If You Knew My Story”, “She’s Gone”, “Bright Star” and “Back in the Day”are each so startling, memorable and different, I immediately wanted to rush out and buy the CD. Except since “Bright Star” just opened this past week, they don’t have one yet. But they sure as will soon, and I’ll let you know when that delightful event happens.

Other songs, too, including second act showstoppers, “Always Will” and “At Last” are also immediate standards-to-be I’m so sure.

Bright Star 1

And “Bright Star”s ace-in-the-hole is the astonishing Carmen Cusack, who sings nearly all these great songs with a country twang that verges on the operatic. She plays the dauntless heroine Alice Murphy, who, except for her rather trite name, is doubtless also going to be known as one of the greatest roles for an actress in musical comedy history.

Cusack has the daunting task of slipping backwards and forwards in time as her character ages back and forth between a hard-bitten literary editor and a plucky teenage un-wed mother with big dreams in a stultifying North Carolina town. It is put upon Cusack to take us through all these time shifts from 1945-1946 to 22 years earlier, and she does it so effortlessly, and so charmingly that she just made me gasp.

Yes, Carmen Cusack is doing the impossible embodying all these moods and ages that she for sure is now launched into the rarefied Broadway stratosphere as one of its’ most important, as well as newest, diva-cum-star. Who did she remind me most of? A cross between Reba McIntire and Maria Callas. Her roof-raising voice is as rangy as any Puccini heroine.

She is ably abetted in her time-travelling tropes by leading men, Paul Alexander Nolan and also A.J. Shively, who plays a WWII vet with literary aspirations who gets to sing the wonderful, toe-tapping title song “Bright Star.”

Bright Star 3

Broadway vet Michael Mulheren gets to shine, too, finally after a life-time of thankless supporting roles, as the dastardly mayor. Dee Hoty is wasted as our heroine’s weak mother.  Hannah Alless strikes the show’s one false note as its’ stereo-typed ingenue. Underwritten compared to the other female roles, what could anyone do with a part like that that is pure treacle?

Emily Padgett of “Side Show” fares much better as the tart comic relief and Jeff Blumenkrantz is her zesty, funny counterpart, the pair not missing one comic beat. Which one is more deliciously campy, it’s hard to say. They both play imperious editorial employees of the mature Cusack’s magazine.

And the uncanny scenic design by Eugene Lee consists of a house-full of bluegrass musicians, who move in the Southern Gothic A-frame that contains them, back and forth across the stage at a dizzying pace, under the Scene Design Supervision of Edward Pierce that is as lively a choreographic move as the more subdued, but fun ones created by Josh Roberts.

All this is under the redoubtable direction of Walter Bobbie and “Bright Star” hums and purrs and jingle-jangles its’ gentle way into our cynical New York hearts and may indeed have found a permanent place there at the Cort Theater on W.48th Street for a long, long time.Bright Star 2

 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: