This review could be quite short.
I could stop right there, but I won’t.
If you miss this show, you are missing one of the best shows Theatre L’Homme Dieu has ever had.
Bright Star is that special.
Inspired by a real event, Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the vibrant backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. Literary editor Alice Murphy enters a relationship with a young soldier just home from World War II that awakens her longing for the child she once lost, and she sets out on a journey to understand her past that has the power to transform both of their lives.
Music, Lyrics, and story by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.
Bright Star is presented by Minnetonka Theatre – the first High School Group to ever perform on the Theatre L’Homme Dieu Stage.
Don’t be confused. Just because high school students are presenting this musical does NOT mean that the standard for quality has been lowered. There are no training wheels here. Professional actors and technicians have NOTHING on this group of talented students. The gifts they bring to Theatre L’Homme Dieu rank right up there with the best that I’ve seen on the TLHD stage. From the set to the lights, to the costuming, the dancing, the acting, the music – everything here is top notch.
The lead actors display an understanding of emotion beyond their years. This sheer honest emotion runs throughout the whole production, where not a moment rings false. The ensemble’s skill at supporting the action of a scene without appearing “stagey” is a highlight, and perhaps the backbone of the whole show.
The story is well-told; I cared about these characters immediately. And not only can these kids act – THEY CAN SING, TOO. And oh boy, the singing. Chills. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve got some fantastic music to sing, either. Bright Star itself, the book and music by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, has the feel of something that will become a new American musical classic on par with Oklahoma! and West Side Story, once it becomes more well-known. Had it not premiered on Broadway in the same season as the theatrical juggernaut Hamilton, it would probably already be known as a new American classic. In Bright Star‘s journey toward American Musical Theatre canon, you get the opportunity to be an early acolyte. Lucky you.
Congratulations to the Minnetonka Theatre on one of the highest quality pieces of theatre I have ever seen and thank goodness Theatre L’Homme Dieu had the good sense to bring it to the Lakes Area. Bright Star is a treat. A delight.
I can’t rave enough.
What a fantastic way to kick off Theatre L’Homme Dieu’s 59th Season!
Performances continue through June 30th.