On Stage Presents ‘Bright Star’ – A Bluegrass Musical 

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MONROE, Ga. – On Stage, Monroe’s community theater, presents “Bright Star,” a bluegrass musical based on the true story of a wild Appalachian girl who becomes a magazine editor, with a Grammy-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.

Performances are at 8 p.m. on Feb. 21, 22, 28, 29 and March 6 and 7. Sunday matinees are March 1 and 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are now available at www.onstagewalton.org or at Carmichael’s Drugs, 150 MLK Blvd. in Monroe. Online tickets use credit cards. Carmichael’s requires cash or checks. The On Stage Playhouse is at 215 High School Avenue in Monroe.

“If you love bluegrass music, you’re going to love this show,” said Marc Hammes, co-director of Bright Star and artistic director of On Stage. He plays the character, Daryl, in the musical, his first official acting role at the theater. 

“It has bluegrass music all the way through. Steve Martin wrote it, so it has big comedic moments but also moments of big drama,” Hammes said. “There’s a lot of travel in time, from 1923 to 1945. To me, if you’re not cussing and crying at the end of Act One, we’re not doing our job.”

Laura Griffin, co-director, said, “I like the family part of it. There’s a lot about families and what they do to protect each other and how they love – or not love – each other. And it’s based on a true incident.” She previously directed the On Stage production of “Father of the Bride.”

The play has a cast of 18. Kayla Marsh, a musical theater and marketing graduate of Ball State University in Indiana who now teaches theater in Georgia, portrays Alice Murphy, the lead character. Jake Strength, an accomplished singer and guitarist, portrays Jimmy Ray Dobbs, Alice’s boyfriend during her wild days. He previously appeared in two On Stage productions, including his role as Sheriff Heck Tate in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Daniel Hodges, a Monroe dentist, portrays Billy Cane.

ABOUT ON STAGE: Organized as On Stage Walton in 1971 “to bring a little culture to our town,” the theater moved in 1975 to the current On Stage Playhouse in the old Monroe Primitive Baptist Church, built in 1910.  On Stage holds summer workshops for adults and youths. The theater helps support a 501c3 organization. For more information: www.onstagewalton.org. 

Audrey Burkes plays Lucy, a sarcastic soprano, in the On Stage production of “Bright Star” with a cast of 18, now in rehearsal in Monroe. Tickets are on sale at https://onstagewalton.org or Carmichael’s Drugs.  Photo Credit: Marc Hammes

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