Over the years, Broadway shows have come to embrace all kinds of musical styles, but there are some that show up far less frequently than others. And among the rarest to make an appearance has to be bluegrass.
Which is just one of the things that makes Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical “Bright Star” a unique theater-going experience.
“The show has the pace and quickness of Steve’s comedy style, but it also has the emotional depth of richness of his fiction,” said actor Merideth Kaye Clark. “The music he and Edie did together is fantastic, with all these great hooks.”
Audiences will get to see what makes “Bright Star” so special as the first entry in the new season at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. The show runs at the center through Sept. 29, with performances at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The show takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and is inspired by a true story. Told in the 1940s, with flashbacks throughout, the story focuses on newspaper editor Alice Murphy (Clark) as she deals with loss in her past and building a life in her present. The location is reflected in the music and features an on-stage band playing the Americana and bluegrass-driven score.
A mother of two herself, Clark said she was really raw to the losses and triumphs Alice experiences throughout the story’s duration but was particularly drawn to her strength.
“She really exists at the center of the story, and there aren’t many shows where a woman plays that strong of a protagonist,” Clark, who plays Alice at ages 16 to her late 30s, explained. “I get to be a woman who is very knowing and sage to her younger self, who has a lot more naïve hope.”
Audiences might be surprised at the pathos and depth that a comedian like Martin brings to the show, but that is also what makes “Bright Star” such a powerful experience.
“Audiences should open their hearts to the twists and turns of the show,” Clark said. “It’s the kind of show where you’ll both laugh and cry.”
For tickets and details, call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org/on-stage/bright-star.
Walk through the ring of fire at LCC
The music of Johnny Cash is one of the most important voices in American music, and his influence will last for generations beyond his own.
Using that music — including stone-cold classics like “I Walk The Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and “Folsom Prison Blues” — Performance Now Theatre Company is hosting “Ring of Fire: the Music of Johnny Cash” at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway. The show runs through Sept. 22, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The show is a musical about love and faith, rowdiness and redemption, struggle and success, and the healing power of home and family. Though Cash himself isn’t impersonated, his story is told through the music he left behind.
For information and tickets, call 303-987-7845 or visit www.performancenow.org.
A study in baseball history
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Baseball League, Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro League’s Baseball Museum, will be coming to the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13.
In his presentation, Kendrick will discuss the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues—how players got their start, how they were treated in the league, and how they integrated into Major League Baseball.
In addition to Kendrick’s presentation, attendees can check out the They Were All Stars exhibit, which was developed by the museum in conjunction with Kansas City’s hosting of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 2012. The exhibit chronicles players from the Negro Leagues who became Major League All-Stars, like Jackie Robinson.
If you swing by at 5:30 p.m. you can get hotdogs and other stadium favorites, courtesy of The DogHouse Food Truck.
Get tickets and details at www.lonetreeartscenter.org.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Oso Oso at Lost Lake
For whatever the reason, a lot of people don’t pop punk music seriously. But groups like Oso Oso show how much intelligence and songcraft goes into making tunes that have some substance behind their catchy sheen.
The group’s latest album, “Basking in the Glow” is a perfect example of an album that goes beyond its genre designation to become one of the best records of the year, however you classify it. It’s full of hooks and riffs and insightfully funny lyrics.
In support of the album the group will be stopping by Lost Lake, 3602 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14. They’ll be joined by Ohio alt-rock stalwarts The Sidekicks and up-and-comers Future Teens.
For tickets to what’s sure to be one of the best rock shows of the season, visit www.lost-lake.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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