Wright State Theatre to present bluegrass musical ‘Bright Star’ in Herbst Theatre

From left: Tanner Gleeson, Anna-Kate Kuszynski, Hannah Rollins and Sam Evans star in Wright State Theatre’s production of “Bright Star.”

Wright State University Theatre will present the bluegrass musical “Bright Star” in its intimate Herbst Theatre in the Creative Arts Center on Nov. 18–20 and Dec. 2–4.

Performances take place Nov. 18, 19, Dec. 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. No performances are scheduled over Thanksgiving weekend.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Creative Arts Center box office between noon and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A story of love and redemption, “Bright Star” is a joyous and heartfelt Appalachian folk tale based on true events.

“Bright Star” is written by legendary comedian and banjo player Steve Martin and indie musician Edie Brickell. The musical is inspired by their Grammy-winning collaboration on the 2013 bluegrass album “Love Has Come for You.”

Wright State Theatre’s production is directed by guest artist Leslie Goddard Baum and choreographed by guest artist Tracey Bonner. Staff music director Matt Ebright leads a band that includes both professional instrumentalists and numerous actor-musicians from within the cast.

Baum describes “Bright Star” as an epic tale spanning generations that features fun and powerful music and puts relationships at the forefront.

“It is joyful, heartbreaking, funny and fortifying,” she said. “I hope audiences are prepared to go on the ride with this amazing cast.”

She also praised the cast, saying the student actors have been wonderful to work with.

“They came with research, questions, ideas and energy. It’s been inspiring to me to work with such curious and creative students,” Baum said.

Baum is a Broadway veteran of “Hairspray” and national tours of “Jersey Boys,” “Showboat” and “The Sound of Music.” She has performed locally in the Human Race Theatre Company’s “The Full Monty” and “Lizzie” and is well-known in Cincinnati for her directing work.

Bonner is a former faculty member at Northern Kentucky University whose professional credits include “Swing!” at The Carnegie, numerous regional and university productions and performance work across the country.

“We’re glad to have them both joining us this season,” said Joe Deer, artistic director and distinguished professor of musical theatre.

2022–23 theatre season continues

Wright State Theatre’s season continues in 2023 with “Arcadia” in the Festival Playhouse Feb. 3–12. The season also includes:

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