Thursday, August 29, 2019

review - BRIGHT STAR - Hale Centre Theatre

Heidi-Liz Johnson and Allan DeWitt
Photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 5th.

"It may not have had a lengthy Broadway run, where it was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical, and it does have a fairly predictable plot that slightly borders on melodrama, but the musical Bright Star has an abundance of charm, endearing characters, and a musical score of upbeat bluegrass tunes and soaring ballads. Hale Centre Theatre presents the Phoenix premiere in a production with excellent direction and a talented cast featuring a staring performance by Heidi-Liz Johnson that soars. All of these elements combine into an incredibly moving production that offsets many of the musical's small shortcomings....I've seen Johnson in numerous shows in town and she is always excellent. Her portrayal of Alice may be her best performance yet...Allan DeWitt has abundant charm as the young and rambunctious writer Billy. With a wonderful comic sensibility, DeWitt manages to make Billy somewhat goofy yet also entirely lovable. As Jimmy Ray, the handsome and wealthy young man Alice falls for in the scenes set in the past, Cameron Rollins does very well in depicting the character's conflicted nature...Tim Dietlein's direction is sharp, with every actor creating fleshed our characters, and his scene changes are very fluid...With several toe-tapping tunes and a plot that covers a wide range of emotions and themes, including redemption, forgiveness and understanding, Bright Star may be somewhat predictable and border on melodrama but in Hale Center Theatre's beautiful, well-cast production it is also funny and charming, with emotion that shines bright.  " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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