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)

More Legit

  • Because of Winn Dixie review

    Regional Theater Review: 'Because of Winn Dixie,' the Musical

    Watching the musical “Because of Winn Dixie” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn., it’s hard not to think of another show that premiered in the same regional theater 43 years ago. It, too, featured a scruffy stray dog, a lonely-but-enterprising young girl and a closed-off daddy who finally opens up. But “Winn Dixie,” based [...]


    Off Broadway Review: 'Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow'

    There’s something about Anton Chekhov’s whiny sisters that invites comic sendups of “Three Sisters” like the one Halley Feiffer wrote on commission for the Williamstown Theater Festival. Transferred to MCC Theater’s new Off Broadway space and playing in the round in a black box with limited seating capacity, the crafty show feels intimate and familiar. [...]

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]


    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content