Period musical “Bright Star” brings Americana touch to Farmers Alley Theatre season-closer
This interview was recorded when opening night was scheduled for June 16. It now opens June 23 and runs to July 10.
Closing out the 14th season of Farmers Alley Theatre is Bright Star, a 2014 musical written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Director Kathy Mulay, Jeremy Koch (who plays Jimmy Ray Dobbs, and is FAT Artistic Director) and lead actress Michelle Duffy (Alice Murphy) talked to Cara Lieurance about the story, the folk and bluegrass-influenced score, and the ways in which it hits home today.
Many people in theater left New York during the pandemic, says Michelle Duffy — including herself. She returned to her hometown and her mother, and that brought her closer to her character in Bright Star. “We’re all thinking about how precious that is.”
It’s one of the biggest productions brought to stage by Farmers Alley Theatre, with a cast of 16 and storylines that jump from the 1940s to the 1920s. Michelle Duffy as Alice Murphy opens the show with “If You Knew my Story,” with supporting musicians playing fiddle, banjo, and other traditional folk instruments. Kathy Mulay, Jeremy Koch, and Jason Koch (Billy Kane) a recent theater studies graduate of the University of Michigan, represent three generations of their family taking part in the production.