Bluegrass Musical To Premiere On Lyric Stage

Banjos and bluegrass music will be in the spotlight next month when Lyric Theatre presents the regional premiere of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's musical Bright Star.

The southern story of hope set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina opens Wednesday, April 3, running through Sunday, April 28, at Lyric at the Plaza, 1725 NW 16 St.

This sweeping tale of love and redemption is set against the rich backdrop of the 1920s and '40s American South. Propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers, Alice Murphy's powerful tale of love, life and hope unfolds in a rich tapestry of deep emotion and beautiful bluegrass-inspired melodies. The musical is inspired by Martin and Brickell's Grammy-winning collaboration on the 2013 bluegrass album Love Has Come for You.

"Steve Martin's wit and heart are evident in the wonderful script for Bright Star," said Lyric's Producing Artistic Director Michael Baron, who is also directing this production. "When musical theatre really works, the audience is brought to a place where they can have empathy for the characters on stage as real people and feel along with them the hardships and triumphs that life gives us each day. I feel Bright Star is that kind of show - one that stays with you and that you will remember for a lifetime."

Lyric will partner with the American Banjo Museum - located in Oklahoma City's Bricktown Entertainment District - to present this inspirational musical. Visitors to the museum can present their entrance receipts for discounted tickets to Bright Star.

"The American Banjo Museum is thrilled to see Lyric Theatre bring Bright Star to Oklahoma," said Johnny Baier, the American Banjo Museum executive director. "Aside from the great story and powerful music by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, we love to see the banjo featured so prominently. After being inducted into our Hall of Fame in 2015, Steve Martin has been a champion for not only the banjo, but our museum as well. Although beloved as an actor and comedian, he is, without a doubt, one of the most influential banjo players of our generation."

Before select performances, local television personality and musician Lucas Ross will present a pre-show banjo show on the Paula Stover Stage. Audiences can expect a variety of bluegrass tunes, comedy routines and a few cover songs never expected to be heard on a banjo. Specific show dates and times for Ross's performances can be found on Lyric's website and social media outlets.

"I've been attending Lyric's productions since I was a kid and have loved getting to work with Michael Baron in recent years promoting different shows," Ross said. "To say I've been influenced by Steve Martin's comedy is an understatement, but to be asked to do some banjo before this show is really a dream come true."

The 16-member cast of Bright Star includes New York's Bligh Voth in the lead role of Alice Murphy. Voth last appeared in Lyric's 2013 Civic production of Big River.

"She is a singular talent in American theatre, and while she lives in New York City now, she grew up singing bluegrass and country in the South with her family," Baron said. "This story and music means so much to her, and I'm so thankful she is available to help us tell it."

The cast includes Lyric favorites Vince Leseney (Daddy Murphy), Stephen Hilton (Daddy Cane), Jonathan Beck Reed (Mayor Dobbs) and Lexi Windsor (Lucy Grant). Also featured in the production are Michael Isaac (Jimmy Ray Dobbs), Zak Reynolds (Daryl Ames), Patty Irwin (Margo Crawford), Jessica Tate (Mama Murphy) and Ken Singleton (Billy Cane). The ensemble includes Joseph Campbell, Marcus Canada, Jessica Martens, Carly Ann Moore, Janna Linae Schmid and Adam LaPorte.

Bright Star includes music direction by Brian Hamilton and choreography by Lyric's Associate Artistic Director Ashley Wells. Shawn Irish will serve as the set/lighting designer with costumes by Lyric's Resident Costume Designer Jeffrey Meek and sound design by Kevin Alexander.

Single tickets to Bright Star start at just $25. This show contains some mature themes that may be more appropriate and relevant for pre-teens and older. For more information, visit LyricTheatreOKC.org or call Lyric's box office at (405) 524-9312.

Founded in 1963, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma is the state's leading professional theatre company. Lyric produces classic and contemporary musicals, new works, and plays featuring artists from Oklahoma and around the nation. Shows are presented at two Oklahoma City venues - the intimate Plaza Theatre and in the summer at the grand Civic Center Music Hall. Lyric's Thelma Gaylord Academy is the premier professional theatre training ground, offering classes in all aspects of the performing arts. Lyric is a nonprofit member theatre of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and Allied Arts. For more information, visit www.LyricTheatreOKC.org.



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