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Review: BRIGHT STAR at CenterPoint Legacy Theater

Review: BRIGHT STAR at CenterPoint Legacy Theater

Don't miss the bright-shining cast in this exquisite production!

For those like me who, as a child of the 80s, grew up watching comedy staples like The Jerk and Father of the Bride on repeat, you might expect BRIGHT STAR (Music, Book & Story by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell) to be yet another one of Steve Martin's masterful works of comedy. Instead, I was left breathless watching a gut wrenching tragedy unfold before me.

Of course there are moments of humor woven in, but this is a story of life's pain and loss, laced with redemption, beauty and serendipity that remind us all that the "sun's gonna shine again."

Don't let this news deter you, though, from seeing this undeniably talented cast and beautiful story, which, spoiler alert, has a happy ending. Just be prepared for their outstanding performances to draw you in and feel every emotion right along with them.

In the lead role of the MWF cast, Anya Wilson as Alice Murphy (double cast as Becca Burdick), will absolutely take your breath away with her incredible performance. She exquisitely exhibits the joys, the pains, the love and the forgiveness that life requires and brings the audience along with her on the journey. Not only is she an exceptional actress, but her stunning vocals could move an entire audience to both tears and a standing ovation, especially in her heartbreaking solo "At Last." Wilson is perfection in this role.

Playing Alice Murphy's love interest Jimmy Ray Dobbs is Jared Haddock (double cast as Jordan Strong). Haddock beautifully captures the frustrations and hardships of life in his performance, while also expertly emitting a carefree and whimsy that is expected of someone in deep love with an optimism for life. His vocal talents are reminiscent of Adam Pascal of RENT fame, with a grit and power that tug at your heartstrings, especially in his solo performance of "Heartbreaker."

The interwoven storyline of the show revolves around aspiring writer Billy Cane played by Alex Young (double cast as Drew Dunshee), and his long-time friend and love interest Margo, played by Abigail Ford (double cast as Olympia Pead). This hopeful storyline of young love and following their dreams is a much-needed reprieve from some of the tragedy that unfolds throughout the show, and Young and Ford both provided stellar performances. Both their solos and duet of "Always Will" let their vocal talents shine and bring smiles to the faces of the audience members. Ford was especially lovable as Margo, with a fun and sincere performance that left you rooting for her sweet character.

Young also stood out in act two's "Another Round" alongside characters Lucy, played by Natalie Haddock (double cast as Kat Tietjen) and Daryl, played by Ryan Zaugg (double cast as Jared Daley). This was a light-hearted number with fun choreography and lyrical harmonies by the ensemble, and gorgeous vocals by Haddock, Young and Zaugg. Zaugg and Haddock were wonderful additions to this cast in their roles as editors and writers at the Asheville Southern Journal, where they work for Alice Murphy in her later years. Both had fabulous comedic timing, gumption, and killer vocals to boot.

Beyond the stunning cast performances, this show also boasts beautiful set designs by Truxton Moulton, seamless scenic changes and truly brilliant direction by Maurie Tarbox.

While BRIGHT STAR will likely make you cry, it will also inevitably leave you smiling and cheering as the curtain closes on this hope-filled southern tragedy with a bluegrass backdrop.

BRIGHT STAR is a compelling show full of love and heartache, forgiveness and redemption, and the phenomenal cast simply should not be missed. See it now through October 22!

For a list of show times and to purchase tickets, visit cptutah.org or call 801-298-1302.

Photo Credit: Anya Wilson as Alice Murphy



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