Though It Perplexed New York, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Appalachian Musical Bright Star Should Fare Well Here | Arts

Though It Perplexed New York, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Appalachian Musical Bright Star Should Fare Well Here

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Tuesday, April 17-Sunday April 22
Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh
7:30 p.m. nightly/2 p.m. Sat. & Sun., $21–$45
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Don't let the supposed simplicity of old-time music fool you; its composers only get there after they've carefully whittled away absolutely everything inessential to the story or the song. What remains is spare, direct, distilled, its emotional impact magnified as a result. Comedian, playwright, and banjo picker Steve Martin and songwriter Edie Brickell's 2016 Appalachian-based musical, Bright Star, stemmed from their two albums of new folk music, Love Has Come for You and So Familiar. It would be hard to imagine source material less likely for a Broadway project: roots-based ballads, reels, and anything-but-showtunes wrapped around a small-town World War II vet's dreams of literary achievement, his move to the (comparatively) big city of Asheville, and the impact it ultimately has on a prominent editor. New York didn't know what to make of it; despite a favorable review from The New York Times, the show closed after four months on Broadway. The touring production deserves—and will likely get—a better reception here, closer to the sources of its improbable tale.

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