Laden with remembrances of the past and hopeful glances toward the future, Company Carolina’s "Bright Star" plucks and fiddles its way into Chapel Hill this spring.
The show, a bluegrass musical originally written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, weaves its way through a sepia-toned depiction of mid-20th century North Carolina. With director Ruthie Allen at the helm, the show follows the story of idealistic young woman named Alice Murphy — first in her uproarious, sunny youth in the Blue Ridge Mountains, then decades later, in her more mature time as a literary editor for the Asheville Southern Journal.
It is an idealistic, big-hearted production, and it maintains a deep connection to North Carolina — a connection that’s constantly expressed through its compelling themes. But the cast isn’t trapped in a rose-tinted worldview.
“We’ve said this show is our love letter to North Carolina,” actress Haley Stone, who plays Alice in the show, said. “But one of the things that we’re trying to work on is, how do we embrace what we love about our state, while also acknowledging our state’s bad moments? Its history that we’re not proud of?”
Allen said the show is driven by a need to find the love, the joy and the beauty evident in the heart of the state, while simultaneously navigating its problematic past. But while the show grapples with issues of all stripes, it’s one particular subject that jumps out often: the nature of womanhood.