Monroe students at Piedmont University shine in Bright Star

press release from merit pages

Gracie Tipton as Alice Murphy with Johnny Goodwyn as Jimmy Ray Dobbs. Contributed photo

DEMOREST, GA (04/05/2023)– The Piedmont University Theatre 2022-23 mainstage season concluded with the musical Bright Star, performed March 30-April 2. Clayton Maddox and Ally Caspor, both of Monroe, were cast members in the Dance Corps.

Written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and inspired by the Iron Mountain Baby folk story, Bright Star tells a tale of love and redemption set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in the 1920s and ’40s.

WWII veteran Billy Cane moves to Asheville to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. He approaches Alice Murphy, editor of the Asheville Southern Journal, in the hopes of getting his work published. We then flashback to the 1920s to follow the love story of young Alice Murphy and Jimmy Ray Dobbs, star-crossed lovers fighting against family and societal expectations. Moving back and forth in time, we learn about Alice and Billy and discover a connection neither thought possible. Audiences are hooked by their mysterious relationship and the adventure of discovery in this modern bluegrass musical.

Professor Bill Gabelhausen directed the production, while students Jonathan Furlow (Kingsland, Georgia) and Sof Delgado (Orlando, Florida) were assistant director and stage manager, respectively. Barbara Luhn music directed. Current students Hunter Reum (Naples, Florida) served as the cast’s acting coach, and Jo Collinson (Gainesville, Georgia) choreographed the production.

Joining Delgado as assistant stage managers were students Tyler Pellegrino (Kingsland, Georgia) and Mary Gaines (Elberton, Georgia). Professor John Spiegel designed the costumes; Atlanta-based designer Jessica Coale designed the lights; Piedmont Alum Taylor Pope (St. Mary’s, Georgia) sound designed; and Piedmont Alum Melanie Stevens designed the set.

Cast members included:

  • Alice Murphy, Gracie Tipton (Gainesville, Georgia)
  • Billy Cane, Gabriel Richman (Dallas, Georgia)
  • Daddy Cane/Ensemble, Dante Wilson* (Gainesville, Georgia)
  • Margo Crawford, Lexie Partain (Elberton, Georgia)
  • Max/Ensemble, Max Daves (Toccoa, Georgia)
  • Florence/Ensemble, Dakota Rose Chen* (Bogart, Georgia)
  • Edna/Ensemble, Haylie Collins* (Grayson, Georgia)
  • Daryl Ames, Marius Krings (Bonn, Germany)
  • Lucy Grant, Carly Jelinek (Kingsland, Georgia)
  • Mama Murphy/Ensemble, Lydia Todd (Royston, Georgia)
  • Daddy Murphy/Ensemble, Joshua Farmer* (Lawrenceville, Georgia)
  • Mayor Josiah Dobbs, Carson Letner (Dallas, Georgia)
  • Jimmy Ray Dobbs, Johnny Seven Goodwyn (Moultrie, Georgia)
  • Stanford, Clayton Maddox* (Monroe, Georgia)
  • Dr. Norquist/Ensemble, Ethan Spinks* (Kingsland, Georgia)
  • Station Master/Ensemble, D.C. Stoltz (Eastanollee, Georgia)
  • Government Clerk/Ensemble, Hannah Sheffield (Blairsville, Georgia)
  • Well-Dressed Woman/Ensemble, Lyric Rogers (Crawford, Georgia)
  • Ensemble, Jo Collinson* (Gainesville, Georgia)
  • Ensemble, Ally Kaspor* (Monroe, Georgia)
  • Ensemble, Hannah Willems (Bonn, Germany)
  • Ensemble, Athena Lux* (Oakwood, Georgia)
  • Ensemble, Corby Stroud (Saraland, Alabama)
  • Ensemble, Meredith Pollette (Tucker, Georgia)

* denotes dance corps

Learn more about Piedmont’s Fine Arts events and programs at

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