Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Broadway Musical ‘Bright Star’ to Close

Bright Star closing
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Bright Star,” the Broadway musical written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, will shutter at the end of the month, with producers posting a closing notice after weeks of struggle at the box office.

The musical, a homespun fable with a bluegrass-infused, Americana score, earned mixed reviews from critics, but emerged as one of the big surprises in the race for the Tony Awards. The title picked up five nominations, including one for best musical alongside four titles that had seemed more likely industry picks (“Hamilton,” “Shuffle Along,” “Waitress,” “School of Rock”). As one of those nominees, “Bright Star” got a performance slot during the Tony telecast, although the closing notice makes plain that the TV spotlight didn’t spur enough of a box office spike to hold on through the summer.

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A number of hurdles made it difficult for the musical to connect with potential ticketbuyers. For one thing, the story of “Bright Star” is entirely original, with no underlying tie to a familiar property. Its most famous collaborator, Martin, doesn’t actually appear in the show, and he’s far better known as a comedian than as a banjo player and composer. On top of all that, the music itself is an unusual-for-Broadway mix of genres that proved hard to describe, much less sell to consumers.

Since it began previews in late February, “Bright Star” has seen sales fluctuate but remain relatively low; the weekly box office broke the $500,000 mark for the first time only last week. Producers and investors may face a near-total loss on their $11.5 million investment, although at least some of that money may be recouped should the musical hit the road, where the heartland-America tale seemingly has the potential to click. In addition, the show’s cast recording has found success on a handful of Billboard charts.

Directed by Walter Bobbie and starring Tony nominee Carmen Cusack, “Bright Star” closes June 26 at the Cort Theater.

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  1. Luke M Vaughan MD says:

    Terrific show. Blindsided by the massively successful HAMILTON. Timing baby, timing !

  2. Bob Sciubba says:

    What a shame! I saw this with my family during previews and we all LOVED it. It was so well done and refreshingly different, but everyone I spoke to during intermission and afterwards also enjoyed it. Young & old, all walks of life. It was uplifting. Bravo! I hope to see more from these two.

  3. Liz says:

    I went to the show when it first opened and I enjoyed it immensely. I especially enjoyed the fact that it takes place in NC where I lived for 7 years.

    • Susan Deutsch says:

      When I saw the show a few weeks ago I was overwhelmed with what I can only call “theater joy.” It reminded me of how I felt after I saw Fiorello or Bye-Bye Birdie, back in the day. Yes, it was that good. The original story, the music, the cast, the production were all thrilling. I have told all my friends to see it and I hope many more people will also be able to go. I look forward to buying the CD. Thank you, Steve Martin!

  4. Peter Horton says:

    Had Tickets for July 1 so very disappointed. The score is truly a work of art, beautiful and haunting. Will have to settle for the CD.

  5. rickie huffer says:

    enjoyed tony performance (prairie home companion?), but school of rock lead was awesome!

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