The reviews are in, and "Bright Star" was a smash hit!
"Bright Star," which ran from Friday, Nov. 15 through Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, tells a tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and '40s.
Included below is a review from Madeline Finkleman of North Broward Preparatory School. Finkleman attended the Saturday, Nov. 16 showing of "Bright Star" and wrote the following review as a critic representative of the South Florida Critics and Awards Program.
A charming latticed barn silhouetted against the sunset-streaked Blue Ridge Mountains sets the tone as the musical mood of the south sweeps across the stage. With the strumming of both banjo strings and heart-strings, Cardinal Gibbons High School’s bluegrass musical "Bright Star" beautifully tells a touching and tender tale, intertwining timelines in a sweet and sentimental spectacle.
Bright Star was written and composed by comedian Steve Martin and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. The folk-style musical was inspired by the pair’s Grammy-winning 2013 bluegrass album, “Love Has Come For You” and the true-story “Iron Mountain Baby.” "Bright Star" premiered at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in 2014. The musical opened in 2016 on Broadway at the Cort Theatre and ran for 139 performances. Set in rural North Carolina, the unconventional musical "Bright Star" tells the heart-wrenching story of Alice Murphy, depicting events ranging from her reckless youth in the 1920s to her stern and steely adulthood in the 1940s. Her past and present lives weave together in a pain-tinged tapestry of love, fight, and redemption.
Leading the show with grace was Darby Silverman as the head-strong teen turned renowned magazine editor, Alice Murphy. Silverman exhibited a strong vocal quality which remained captivating and consistent through the show’s entirety. From uptight professional to carefree 16-year-old, Silverman tackled the demanding task of portraying two different ages and attitudes with commendable clarity.
Alice’s first love Jimmy Ray Dobbs was played with sweet sincerity by Parker Greenblatt. Greenblatt established a believable character and created a genuine connection with Silverman. The two were best showcased together in their heartbreaking duet “I Had A Vision”. Another notable performance was that of Cameron Relicke as the passionately persistent Billy Cane. Relicke ably brought the wannabe writer to life, portraying the youthful and wide-eyed optimistic character with great charisma. Relicke developed a tender relationship with Juliana Rios as Margo. Jimmy and Margo’s playful, budding romance contrasted delightfully with the darker more developed relationship between Alice and Billy.
Bringing comedy and vibrance to the stage were Amber Arevalo and Wes Morby as the dynamic magazine office duo Lucy and Daryl. Arevalo excellently portrayed the sassy southern bell and showcased her great dance and vocal abilities in her song “Another Round.” With tight harmonies and knee-slapping choreography, the show’s ensemble enhanced the down-home charm of the show, helping to propel and tell the entrancing story of "Bright Star." A standout among them, showcasing elegance and grace with every step, was Beatriz Arevalo.
From the denim overalls and period men’s suits to the floral printed dresses and flower-adorned hats, the costumes beautifully fit the country feel and complemented each of the scenes in the show. The quick changes were seamlessly executed, most notably, Alice’s onstage hair and costume change to her younger self. The onstage switch made for a lovely transition and was a unique and effective introduction to the flashback scenes in the production.
In the harmonious and homespun "Bright Star," Cardinal Gibbons High School shined in its sweeping storytelling of broken-hearted characters made whole again by the power of time, forgiveness and love.