The Buena Vista High School Trident Theatre Company brings a musical story of love and redemption to the stage in “Bright Star,” adapted from the original Broadway production, to the high school’s stage March 17-19.
Inspired by a true story, the plot focuses on Alice Murphy, alternating between her life as a successful business woman and her carefree 16-year-old self who is in love with the mayor’s son, Jimmy Ray. It also looks at the character Billy Cane, who has just returned from war and is ready to begin his life.
“Bright Star is full of optimism and hope, even in the darkest of times,” says director Beth Volpe. “It is a positive message delivered with inspiring music, classic humor and country dancing. It’s like one big bluegrass concert. For those who know Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, co-writers of this musical, the story takes on an even deeper meaning. Their talent as musicians and their heart as people are captured in the performance.”
The roughly 2-hour show features a cast of 25 students, a live orchestra and sparkly new stage lights. Due to themes that may be more appropriate and relevant to preteens and older, the show is rated PG-13.
Playing Alice Murphy, junior Liz Cunningham has found it interesting figuring out her character, and she says it’s fun having a bigger part in the show that allows her to dig deeper into who she is as a person.
“I think that it’s a very cool show,” Cunningham says. “It ties together a lot of very complicated and very heavy themes, but also there are songs that are really fun that break it up. The ensemble is really fun too. There’s a lot of Greek chorus that happens and it’s very cool to see everybody push the story forward and act it out.”
Junior Larrie Glabinich plays Jimmy Ray, Alice’s past lover. “We really have a lot of things that go on between us with a bunch of other characters,” he says. “We try to move on with each other, but it doesn’t work out. We basically resolve it in the end.”
Glabinich first performed in a Trident Theatre production in sixth grade in “The Addams Family.” He’s happy to be back having fun with the other student thespians.
“All the memories are coming back about all the practices and it’s just really fun,” he says.
As Margo Crawford, junior Chloe Puckett plays the owner of a bookstore and the love interest of one of the characters. “It’s been really fun,” she says. “(Margo’s) very interesting. I’ve enjoyed being a different character than who I would be and also being a larger character than I would be before.”
Puckett has also enjoyed the musical’s plot and thinks many people will be able to connect to it and understand its themes.
Senior Liz Cunningham plays Edna, a bookstore worker and part of the ensemble. “It’s really fun, just getting to dance and tell the story not straight out of your mouth but with the music and background acting,” she says. “It’s a different kind of skill, but you feel more involved in the show.”
“I feel amazed at the talent of our BVHS students, and I hope the town turns out to see them perform,” Volpe says. “This will be a fantastic show.”
“Bright Star” lights the stage at 7:30 p.m. March 17, 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 18 and 2 p.m. March 19. Tickets may be purchased at bvhs.ludus.com
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