Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
BRIGHT STAR
at Cort Theatre

STAR-CROSSED
By SANDY MACDONALD

  Carmen Cusack and company/ Ph: Nick Stokes

Bright Star has so much going against it: banjos, fiddling, a melodramatic plot. And – perhaps most inauspicious of all – a central character who yearns to be a writer. Welcome to the omphalos: preciosity and navel-gazing dead ahead.

Except not. In their surprisingly effective joint venture, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (they claim shared credit for the music and story, he the book, she the lyrics) manage to summon the intensity and likely heartbreak of young romance. Aiding them immensely is Broadway newcomer Carmen Cusack, who – singing with extraordinary artfulness and heart all the way – convincingly makes a two-decade leap (1923-46) from back-country North Carolina hoyden to citified bluestocking.

Alice Murphy’s salad days are spent in the bosom of a devout family laboring under the delusion that a “firmer hand” might quell her impish curiosity. She’s irrepressible, especially when it comes to her attraction to golden boy Jimmy Ray Dobbs (Paul Exander Nolan), unwilling heir to the power and privilege enjoyed by his father, the mayor (quintessential fatcat Michael Mulheren). Alice and Jimmy Ray do what adolescents do, only with unforeseeably horrifying consequences. It’s a safe bet that, in the history of musical theater, few act-one curtains have fallen on so heart-lurching a note.

But not to worry: There’s a parallel story – about that aspiring writer (A.J. Shively) and his bookstore-clerk girlfriend (Hannah Ellis) – that will link up with Plot A as neatly as spines on a shelf. The structure is too tidy by half, and yet it’s hard to object, or to stave off a lump in one’s throat, so committed are the performers and primordial the emotions artfully played upon here.

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.