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Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s ‘Bright Star’ Rises at the Ahmanson

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell were excited to bring their musical, “Bright Star,” back to the West Coast years after it opened at San Diego’s Old Globe Playhouse.

At Friday’s opening at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson, Martin said the tuner has gone through so many versions he wants to know what those who saw the original iteration think of it.

“I’m excited, because since we did it in San Diego, which played very, very well, we have significantly changed the show,” Martin said. “Things going in, things coming out. And now we feel that — I have a secret belief that the time is now really ripe for ‘Bright Star’ [in] Los Angeles. It’s the fourth time we’ve presented it.”

But don’t call it a bluegrass musical. “I don’t really consider our musical to really be bluegrass,” Brickell said.

“That’s absolutely true. It has a banjo in it, but it’s not really bluegrass,” Martin agreed. “Bluegrass is a very specific genre.”

The pair were glad “Bright Star” saw its original staging at the Old Globe. “We loved it there,” Martin said. “It’s a great place to spend the two months or whatever we did spend there, and it’s an extremely professional operation. Anything you want, you can get.”

“They were very receptive, sweet audience,” Brickell added.

Still, it’s probably easier to get a show staged when you’re Edie Brickell and Steve Martin. “At least you can get in the door,” he said. “But I don’t think it means anything after the getting in the door.”

After its original premiere, the musical percolated for a bit, Brickell said.

“We can actually write very fast,” Martin stated. “Edie is very fast with lyrics and things but you put songs in, you abandon songs, we rewrite the scene, so it has been a long process.”

“‘Bright Star’ took four years and the other play, ‘Meteor Shower,’ took 20 years,” he continued. “People ask me, ‘How do you do so much stuff’ and I say, ‘Well I don’t have a job.’”

“Meteor” is up next on Broadway with Amy Schumer and Keegan Michael-Key starring. “It’s fantastic,” Martin said of the cast. As for why he cast Schumer: “Serendipity. I was at her house,” he explained. “And actually, Edie introduced me to her. I said, ‘You know Amy Schumer?’ Seems like an unlikely match.”

“I just love her face, she makes me laugh,” Brickell said.

Will Martin and Brickell work together again? “We don’t know, we want to rest a little bit. ‘Bright Star’ is a very emotional experience. When we first went to rehearsal and heard our scenes and our songs for the first time, we looked at each other and cried. We were so happy.”

The musical left the audience, including Eric McCormack, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mark Feuerstein and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, happy too.

(Pictured: Steve Martin, Edie Brickell and director Walter Bobbie)

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