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CEDAR RAPIDS – From the beautiful spirit sporting an arrow around it comes a piece that goes straight to the heart of love, loss, adoption and rebirth.

Twenty years after their teenage romance, Jimmy Ray Dobbs (Aaron Brewer) and Alice Murphy (Jordan Arnold) reunite over their shared loss and love in “Bright Star.” Theater Cedar Rapids presents Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s bluegrass musical at the Peggy Boyle Whitworth Outdoor Amphitheater in Brucemore in southeast Cedar Rapids. The dates of the show are from June 18 to July 3, 2021. (Studio reserved)

Theater Cedar Rapids presents “Bright Star,” a recent musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, at the Peggy Boyle Whitworth Amphitheater in Brucemore from June 18 to July 3.

This bluegrass musical, released in 2014, brought “something so different and unique” to Broadway in 2016, said Angie Toomsen of Cedar Rapids, show director and artistic director of TCR.

If you are going to

What: “Bright Star”, a Bluegrass musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell

Or: Presented by Theater Cedar Rapids at Brucemore’s Peggy Boyle Whitworth Amphitheater, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids

When: 7:30 p.m. June 18 to July 3, duration 1h45, with intermission

Tickets: $ 25 single to $ 100 seating for up to four; discounts, other options available; TCR ticket office, (319) 366-8591 or theatrecr.org/

Supplements: Linden Drive gate opens at 6:30 p.m. parking on site; bring chairs, blankets, picnics (beer and wine allowed), insect repellent; concessions also available for purchase

“The collaboration of Steve Martin and Eddie Brickell was fascinating, and I know it inspired a lot of their mutual fans to come and see what the outcome of this creative work together (would be),” said Toomsen.

“What they have created is inspirational, airy and light. At the same time, the story carries a lot of weight and depth. And bluegrass music and the way it’s translated into that medium is something fresh and easy to consume.

Origin stories

Set in South Carolina in the 1940s, time returns to the 1920s to show the events that sparked a journey of answers for literary editor Alice Murphy (played by Jordan Arnold of Cedar Rapids). A chance encounter in the present triggers her longing for the child she lost as a teenager, when the baby was taken against her will and taken on a train, to be placed for adoption.

It’s a situation that mirrors the origin story of young actress Lia Scharnau, 17, from Marion. Born in China, she was around 1 day old when she was found at a train station, in a maintenance car next to the loading dock area.

“Someone just put me in the passenger seat and the workers found me, so that’s kind of my connection,” she said.

Her mother and other cast member Susan Scharnau Schultejans, 51, of Marion, said Lia had come to an orphanage that recognized the importance of raising children and had arrived at her new home in Marion. the day before his first birthday.

She became part of a family with her mother and her late father, Gregg Scharnau, eventually winning three siblings. After her mother remarried, she became part of a blended family with three other siblings.

“So whatever way you can create a family, we are that,” said Scharnau Schultejans. “We are now this dynamic family. “

Both mother and daughter – who have performed on the Brucemore stage in the past – were drawn to the adoption theme of the story.

“Because we have such a personal connection to this particular way of forming a family, it spoke to us,” said Scharnau Schultejans. “It’s just a simple and beautiful story about love and how family can have so many definitions and resilience.”

They play minds who know the story, help guide Alice “and give her the best energy, even in the issues she faces and difficulties,” Lia said.

In the play, Alice was the victim of not only a mean man, but a bad system that did not support her, Toomsen noted.

“And so we learn of this loss and its impact on her life and her trajectory,” she said. “We learn about the life of the child’s father. And in the end… you learn more about what happened to the baby. ”

Despite the dark moments that Toomsen says are important to consider, the story is steeped in moments of lightness, love, and cheerful music.

Daryl Ames (Mic Evans) and Lucy Grant (Sophie Lindwall) get ready to cut a carpet in “Bright Star,” a recent 1940s bluegrass musical set in South Carolina, with flashbacks to the 1920s. Theater Cedar Rapids presents the show on the outdoor stage of the Brucemore Amphitheater from June 18 to July 3, 2021. (Studio reserved)

“It’s super fun,” said Musical Director Janelle Lauer of Cedar Rapids. “A lot of things are super optimistic and fun. There are a lot of highlights in it, it’s really fun music to make.

And fun to hear. “After the very first rehearsal, so many earworms,” Lauer said with a laugh. There’s also a lot of banjo – maybe because Martin occasionally plays banjo with bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers.

“It’s a great story of looking back on a life and where the choices we’ve made and the choices that have been forced on us kind of lead us,” Toomsen said.

“I think this is the perfect story to open the theater locally,” added Scharnau Schultejans. “It’s a beautiful, simple, almost traditional American musical. It’s a love story, there is comedy, dancing, singing. I think everyone is going to have a good time.

Organizations unite

The production marks the next chapter in a new collaboration between TCR and Brucemore – one that brought to Brucemore’s court “St. Nicholas” in October and “Little Women” from May 21 to June 6.

While digging through the theater archives, Toomsen found no other occasion that the Cedar Rapids Theater staged a musical – or any other play – in this open-air amphitheater. However, it has been the site for the previous 25 years of the Classics at Brucemore, as well as the theater for young audiences, the Revival Theater and the summer productions of the Cedar Rapids Opera.

“We see this collaboration with TCR as another example of 40 years of innovative and entrepreneurial use of this field,” said David Janssen, Executive Director of Brucemore. “We don’t see this partnership as a replacement for the Classics program at Brucemore, per se. The success of the Classics series over a quarter century spawned many other productions in what we later called the Peggy Boyle Whitworth Amphitheater. …

“The Classics pioneered outdoor theater at Cedar Rapids and also inspired a resurgence of Corridor summer theater in general. This collaboration with TCR is based on all these experiences, ”he noted.

The feeling is mutual when WWII veteran and aspiring writer Billy Cane (Brandon Burkhart) shines Margo Crawford (Erika Bailey) in “Bright Star.” Theater Cedar Rapids presents the musical bluegrass on the Brucemore outdoor stage from June 18 to July 3, 2021. (Studio reserved)

“Bright Star” is “very special” to people who have been involved in the productions of Classics, Toomsen said, adding that this summer’s offering is “still connected to that legacy of the Classics, in terms of the experience that we want to create for our people whom we bring in the process.

The familiar experience will also continue for the audience, who are invited to come early and bring chairs, blankets, picnics, and bug spray – necessary for a show performed near a pond. Physical distancing will be observed with lawn seating for up to four people, as well as limited single seating. Doors will open at 6.30am and seats will be allocated on a first come basis. Concessions will also be sold on site.

Comments: (319) 368-8508; [email protected]

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