The Tony’s are on Sunday, and I found myself in NY having not seen two of the Best Musical nominated shows. What to do? See them both on the same day, matinée of Bright Star and evening show of Shuffle Along.
Official Blurb: From Grammy® winners Steve Martin and Edie Brickell comes BRIGHT STAR, the new Broadway musical that “brings a fresh breeze to the spring theater season” (Charles Isherwood of The New York Times). Directed by Tony® winner Walter Bobbie and inspired by a real event, this “downright wonderful” (Newsday) original musical tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. “Carmen Cusack is a revelation” (Chicago Tribune) as literary editor Alice Murphy, whose relationship with a young soldier just home from World War II awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past — and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives.Propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers, the story unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion, beautiful melodies and powerfully moving performances. An uplifting theatrical journey that holds you tight in its grasp, BRIGHT STAR is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful — and “Broadway’s most beautiful show” (WABC).
My Take: This is a hard one to put pen to paper (or keyboard to screen) what I think of it. I had high expectations as it was nominated for a Tony over some great shows that I loved this season like On your Feet and Allegiance and in the likes of Hamilton, Waitress and School of Rock which I obsessed about all. Given that, I was judging it against that calibre, I wanted to enjoy it as much and be as good. It is not. It is definitely not a bad show, on the contrary, its cute, charming and has a great soul.What things are good? Carmen Cusack was absolutely great as Alice. She plays two generations and pulls it off brilliantly. In general the voices were great. The staging is inventive, small and charming it fills up the theater and transports you. The story is romantic and sweet, and even though its predictable, you will have tears in your eyes by the end. On the downside, the show is a bit boring as the predictabulity of the story and the music, which is just not that great, bring the show down a bit. One of the people who went with me loved the music but for me it was just bland and flat. I loved the concept that it was bluegrass, and that the band was onstage like a jamboree, but the melodies of the songs just don’t pop and it became very repetitive very quickly. Apart from one song, I was just not as enthralled with its harmonies. All in all, its a cute sweet show, but i would not run to see it.
(im going to start including my show score out of 100 here – for this 66 out of 100)