Genesius Theatre has returned to in person performances after over 18-months performing shows outside. To celebrate the occasion, Genesius is bringing the Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award-winner Steve Martin and Grammy Award-winner Edie Brickell production of Bright Star to Reading.
Genesius has also revealed its new lobby, box office, and foyer, made possible from a grant by the Stanley Foundation, and designed by Lyndsey Bosold Hinkle of Wise Interiors, renovated by Habitat for Humanity of Berks County, and David Neel of Production Solutions.
Inspired by a real event, Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. Featuring a classic Bluegrass/Americana musical score, Bright Star is about how unconditional love, hope, faith, and forgiveness, can overcome all obstacles and create miracles.
The story follows young writer Billy Cane, recently returned from World War II, and Alice Murphy, the editor who takes a chance on him. As Billy mines his childhood home for engaging stories, Alice sets out to explore the pain and mystery of her own small-town past. The overlapping secrets they uncover lead them a startling and heart-warming connection.
“Bright Star will make you laugh until you cry… and cry until you laugh… and then you’ll do it all over again! I think it’s one of the best musicals ever written and we are thrilled to be bringing it to our wonderful audiences! It’s the perfect date-night, or ladies-night out, romantic musical comedy event”, artistic director, L J Fecho stated.
The Genesius production is directed by Genesius artistic director, L J Fecho, music directed by Christopher Sperat, and choreographed by Jericho Joy. The set and lights are designed by Zack Spadaccia, costumes designed by Dara Himes and Cathy Miller, and sound designed by Albert Garcia.
The sets are built by Randall Hauk, Bo Irwin, Dave Neel and Betty Gerstner, with scenic art by Anabeth Butt & Marjory Ewald, and the production is stage managed by Sara Huard.
The Genesius cast for Bright Star is one of the best you could ever find on any stage in the region. Emily Rhinehart stars in the tour-de-force role of Alice Murphy. The show features, James Haggerty as Billy Cane, Spencer Kelly as Jimmy Ray Dobbs, Andrea Keck as Margo Crawford, Kevin Cooper as Mayor Dobbs, Amy Bourey as Mama Murphy, Jeffrey Jones as Daddy Murphy, Peter Bourey as Daddy Cane, Dara Himes as Lucy Grant, Andrew Ortiz as Daryl Ames, Panayiotis Clauser as Stanford, Mike Pardo as Dr. Norquist, Riley Spannuth as Max, Colleen Klahr as Edna & Jennifer Parker Scott as Florence. The musical also features an extremely talented ensemble cast of over twenty kids and adults.
Another unique twist about the Genesius production is that many of the Cooper family, who have long been part of the Berks County theatrical scene, are in the production, which includes, Kevin Cooper, Cecilia Cooper, Elizabeth Cooper Kelly, Spencer Kelly, Jennifer Parker Scott, and Violet Scott, who all hail from the Cooper clan.
The show opened to a sold out audience the first week. For the second week, performance dates include Friday, October 8 at 7:30pm, Saturday, October 9 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, October 10 at 3:00pm. Tickets Range from $17.50 – $33.50. All audience members are required to wear masks. The cast and crew will not be wearing masks, but all front of house Genesius volunteers will be.