BWW Interview: Hannah Thompson of BRIGHT STAR at Mill Town Players

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BWW Interview: Hannah Thompson of BRIGHT STAR at Mill Town Players

What do you get when world-class banjo player (and, yes, comedian) Steve Martin writes a musical with world class singer/songwriter Edie Brickell?

Well, you get BRIGHT STAR, a shining bluegrass musical making its regional premiere this month at Mill Town Players.

I confess that I am personally excited about this show and can't wait to see it. First, because of the material, and second, because it stars Hannah Thompson. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to appear in a production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with her and she remains, to me, the definitive Belle. I am really looking forward to hearing her sing Martin & Brickell's gorgeous music.

I asked Hannah Thompson to give us a preview.

BWW: First, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a native of Idaho and have lived in Greenville for about three years. My husband and I have two beautiful children ages 6 and 2. Since having my children, theatre has taken a little bit of a back seat. However, I am thrilled to be jumping back into doing what I love!

BWW Interview: Hannah Thompson of BRIGHT STAR at Mill Town Players

Now tell us a little about the show and your character.

BRIGHT STAR is based on a real life event that took place in 1902 when a baby was found after being thrown from a train in a small railroad town. The comedian Steve Martin and singer/songwriter Edie Brickell brought the story to life through beautiful bluegrass music.

I play Alice Murphy, a literary editor who finds hope, joy, and redemption through the pain of her past. The show flashes between her teenage years in 1924 to her adult life in 1945.

What attracted you to this role?

I saw this show in New York and actually had the opportunity to sit by the songwriter Edie Brickell during the performance. I was so touched by the story and the strength found in Alice that I knew I had to be a part of this show some day. I remember leaning over to Edie during intermission and just sobbing because I was so emotionally invested in what was going to happen! This story is incredible and I cannot wait to share Alice's story with the audience.

How would you describe the production?

Our director, Mary Nickels, had a vision of this being an ensemble piece from day one. She has created an environment on stage that is a true representation of what it is like to grow up in a town in which shame plays such an important role.

BWW Interview: Hannah Thompson of BRIGHT STAR at Mill Town PlayersWhat do you think will surprise people about this show?

People will be surprised at how such a big production is brought to life in such a small space. The Pelzer Auditorium provides such an intimate environment for the audience and performers to create a beautiful story together.

What do you hope audiences will take away with them?

HOPE! I hope that audiences will leave feeling hopeful that the future is bright and that, "the sun is gonna shine again!"


A New Musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell - State Theater Premiere!

Sept 20 - Oct 6

Thurs - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 3pm

Mill Town Players

Historic Pelzer Auditorium

214 Lebby Street

Pelzer, SC 29669


Tickets $12, with $10 for seniors, military, and students

Inspired by a real event and featuring the Grammy-nominated score by Steven Martin and Edie Brickell, Broadway's BRIGHT STAR tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and '40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy meets a young soldier just home from World War II, he awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past - and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. Propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers, the story unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion, beautiful melodies and powerfully moving performances. An uplifting theatrical journey that holds you tight in its grasp, BRIGHT STAR is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

Directed by Mary Nickles, with musical direction by Joshua Morton, BRIGHT STAR features a live 8-piece Bluegrass band and boasts 17 local actors including Hannah Thompson as Alice Murphy, Seth Crawford as Billy Cane, John Mark Elliott as Jimmy Ray, and Will Ragland as Mayor Dobbs.

Tickets are only $12, with discounts for seniors, military, and students, and can be purchased online at, by calling (864)947-8000, or at the door.

Pics by Escobar Photography

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From This Author Neil Shurley