Taproot Theatre’s production of “Bright Star” Filled with Great Bluegrass Songs, Excellent Singing & Dancing

Gloria Lee Alcalá, Mike Spee and the cast of" Bright Star" at Taproot Theatre Seattle Erik Stuhaug

Taproot Theatre’s latest production Steve Martin & Edie Brickett’s Bright Star is an excellent showcase of local talent performing and dancing to some great bluegrass songs on Taproot’s very limited size stage. Each song stands out on its own as a performance, and every actor does a great job with his or her individual piece.

Bright Star is truly an evening of entertainment, however the story is a bit difficult to follow if you’ve no prior knowledge of what’s happening. Here’s how Taproot describes the show:

Under a serene North Carolina sunset, a simple summer romance blossoms into true love. When Alice and Jimmy Ray’s parents forbid their union, the young couple is propelled into a daring future. Inspired by a true story, this powerful tale of love and redemption will make your heart soar and your toes tap. Hold on, love is coming home.

What actually happens on stage is a bit more complicated. It’s a love story that shifts between 1926 and 1946 in North Carolina. In 1926 there is a baby born out of wedlock, and he gets put into a large briefcase and thrown off a train and into a river by Josiah Dobbs brilliantly portrayed by Eric Polani Jensen. Jensen is a perfectly loveable villain, which a show like this needs. A bad guy, who’s really not all that bad but just doing what he’s got to do as he sings in A Man’s Gotta Do.

In a somewhat surprising climax, the 1926 and 1946 events come together for Alice and Jimmy Ray. Everyone learns the truth and, in typical American feel-good style, they all live happily after.

Each character in Bright Star is brilliantly portrayed and the staging is the usual Taproot exceptional, making it an entertaining show well worth seeing. Bright Star continues at the Taproot Theatre in Seattle through August 24.

L. Steven Sieden is a writer, event producer and global futurist. His books include "Buckminster Fuller’s Universe" and "A Fuller View, Buckminster Fuller’s Vision of Hope and Abundance For All". He has been reviewing Seattle area theatre and live entertainment since 2012.

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