Steve Martin’s new musical “Bright Star” to premiere in San Diego
The Balboa Park iconic theater announced this morning that the new show, titled “Bright Star”, will make its world premiere on September 13 at the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage. The show will run to November 2 and features American music tinged with bluegrass and written by the team of Martin and Edie Brickell.
There will be twenty cast-members, along with a bluegrass band on the stage, as well orchestral accompaniment. Although Steve and Edie will be in town to work on the show, neither will appear on stage.
The script lists Martin as the writer of the book, and Brickell as writing the lyrics. The music is all credited to both of them together. In the first drafts of the show, almost all of the songs were from the CD they wrote together, “Love Has Come For You”. That recording was the first team-up between the comedy giant/serious banjoist and the country-hipster wife of Paul Simon, known first for her voice on the Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians’ hit 80’s single “What I Am”. Now, only five of the 25 pieces are from the album, the rest have been newly-composed by them for the musical.
The Old Globe had taken the step of producing two workshops of the musical in the past two months: the first at upstate New York’s Vassar College and the second in New York City. Plays that start with workshop productions are often slated to move to the Broadway stage. First, however, Broadway veteran director Walter Bobbie, winner of a Tony for “Chicago”, will be making his debut at the Globe with his direction of “Bright Star”.
The story takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, bouncing from 1923 to 1945 and back. Two stories become intertwined: the story of World War I veteran Billy Cane, back from the fighting and dreaming of writing for a living; and the story of Alice Murphy, the editor of a literary journal with secrets to keep at the end of the Second World War.
Martin has confided that he is honored to be premiering his musical on the same stage where so many of Shakespeare’s plays were first presented. Still wild and crazy after all these years.