Rosebud Theatre opens season with Steve Martin musical
by Laureen F. Guenther
Rosebud Theatre opens its 2019 season with the Canadian debut of Bright Star, a musical by comedian Steve Martin and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, on the Opera House stage from March 29 to May 25.
In the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1920s, a teenaged girl named Alice became pregnant and was forced to release her baby son for adoption. Twenty-two years later, she’s become the editor of a prestigious southern newspaper and meets a young soldier, just back from World War II, who wants to write for the paper.
“It’s the story of the restoration of a mother and her son,” said Morris Ertman, Rosebud Theatre’s artistic director, who’s directing the show. “It’s the story about a community who makes a tough decision… and a story about restoration. It’s a story about things having gone awry and the story of things coming together, with the most incredible music you’ll ever hear. Steve Martin is a virtuoso banjo picker himself, so the music just rolls.”
“It’s blue grass music. It’s rippling banjo and amazing fiddle, and just incredibly wonderful songs.” The music also includes cello, piano and bass.
“We live in a time when people are just glomming onto the idea of adopted children finding their birth mothers and fathers,” Ertman said. “And it is a story with a gloriously happy ending. The restoration is beautiful, wonderful, filled with life. … (People) will leave the theatre feeling like anything can be made right.”
Alix Cowman, who performed the role of Percy in Rosebud Theatre’s Spitfire Grill in 2018, is playing Alice in Bright Star. Travis Friesen, who played Percy’s love interest in Spitfire Grill, will again play opposite Cowman in Bright Star. Felix LeBlanc, a Saskatoon-based actor and new to the Rosebud stage, plays Alice’s son, the young, aspiring writer.
“We’re continually trying to find plays and put seasons together that really do touch the human heart,” said Ertman. “Stories that awaken hope and celebrate, even if they have to go through some tough places to get there. And I feel like this season does that. It celebrates people whose lives are huge.”
Before the season officially opens, Rosebud Theatre will host the one-man show Wingfield: Lost and Found, March 8 to 10, performed by guest Rod Beattie.
Bright Star will be followed by The Kite, W.O. Mitchell’s comedy about 111-year-old Daddy Sherry, on the Opera House stage, June 7 to August 31.
Lilia, about an Austrian actress who fled the Third Reich and started over in an American zipper factory before rising to become an Academy Award-winning performer, will be on the BMO Studio Stage, July 5 to August 31.
The Mountaintop, an imagined story about the last night of the life of Martin Luther King Jr., plays in the Opera House, September 13 to October 19. A Christmas Story, the family comedy that Ertman calls “a nostalgic lark”, will be performed November 1 to December 22.
“We hope something that we do in the season will cause you to feel big, to laugh big, to cry big,” Ertman said, “to really come out of yourself and feel like you won’t ever be the same again.”
For more information about Bright Star and Rosebud Theatre’s 2019 season, see www.rosebudtheatre.com.