Cappies Review: “Bright Star”

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The following Cappies review is by Eva Daskos of The Sagemont School

To understand your present, sometimes you must look to the past. In the mist of her most successful years, one respected publisher finds herself recounting her younger days in the rural south to remember the most defining moment in her life. This story of love lost and found is unveiled in Cardinal Gibbons High School’s production of “Bright Star.”

“Bright Star” created by Edie Brickell and Steve Martin tells the true story of a reconnection between a mother and her son after 23 years of separation. Set in the rural south, the storyline jumps between the 1920s and 1940s as heartbroken mother Alice narrates the story of her life and child as the smoky sounds of bluegrass and the joy of folk burst in the background. Opening in 2015 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. this show is praised for its music, receiving the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music as well as nominations for Best Original Score at the Tony Awards and Best Musical Theater album at the Grammys.

Darby Silverman as Alice faced the task of performing the same character 20 years apart with little off-stage time, even featuring an onstage costume change. With this challenge, Silverman showed her versatility as an actress and had a strong differentiation between the younger and mature Alice. Silverman used her character’s southern accent naturally in dialogue, also translating the dialect beautifully into her strong vocals. Silverman used intense emotion and conviction throughout as Alice faced the loss of her child shown in the song “Please Don’t Take Him.”

Jimmy Ray Dobbs had fallen in love with Alice in their younger years, but when Alice got pregnant Jimmy’s father stole the child to protect Jimmy’s reputation. Parker Greenblatt playing Jimmy created electric chemistry with Silverman as both were overcome with their young love and grief of their lost child. After 23 years, it is discovered their child, Billy, is alive and reconnects with Alice when he submits a story to her publishing office. Where he is greeted by the hilarious editing duo of Daryl, played by Wes Morby, and Lucy, performed by Amber Arevalo. Cameron Relicke as Billy showcased his well-rounded performing skills, from his adorable heart-struck chemistry with Juliana Rios as Margo, animated dance moves, and deep understanding of vocal control and technique. 

Giving the audience a warm, southern welcome was the ensemble of the Townspeople, whose energy never faltered and served the challenging score of this musical justice as their harmonies blended seamlessly into every song. Stage Management by Alyssa Chiarello & Company were constant in this productions smooth transitions, and paced ques effectively. Hair and Makeup by Lillian Krause & Company used mainly period appropriate design and outlined faces of actors well onstage. 

The connection of family not only defines what you look like, but your life and values forever. With talented vocalists and an engaging ensemble, watch a story of hope and reunion unfold as Cardinal Gibbons High School performs the heartfelt story “Bright Star.”

(Photo/South Florida Cappies)

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