Martin, a Grammy and Emmy winner, teamed with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell to write the show, which opened its pre-Broadway engagement Dec. 17 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Here are some of the highlights from the PBS interview:
- Martin: We both grew up on musicals. We love their emotion and their melodies, and we got this...harebrained idea to write one ourselves.
- Martin: My part of the song was written on the banjo.... When you combine the banjo with the cello and the violin and the viola, you have the punctuation of the banjo and these long, long notes of the strings, and I think it’s a really good sound.
- Brickell: Well, I always loved that 'You are 16 going on 17 song' [from The Sound of Music].... That’s the one that breaks my heart, because it's so beautiful and so sweet. I love it. And so I woke up one morning realizing, we need a song like that. We need our '16 going on 17' moment. And so those little epiphanies helped direct the sense of writing.
View the Entire Photo Gallery Photo by Joan Marcus
The Kennedy Center engagement began previews Dec. 2 and will play through Jan. 10, 2016. Carmen Cusack, Paul Alexander Nolan, Michael Mulheren, Stephen Bogardus and Dee Hoty are among the stars. The musical had its world premiere at San Diego's Old Globe in 2014.
Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie directs the production that will begin Broadway previews Feb. 25 at the Cort Theatre, followed by opening night on March 24.
Cusack, who starred in the musical's premiere at the Old Globe, is joined by Nolan, Mulheren, Bogardus, Hoty, A.J. Shively, Hannah Elless, Stephen Lee Anderson, Emily Padgett, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Maddie Shea Baldwin, Allison Briner, Max Chernin, Patrick Cummings, Sandra DeNise, Richard Gatta, Lizzie Klemperer, Michael X. Martin, William Michals, Tony Roach, Sarah Jane Shanks and William Youmans.
Inspired by a true event, Bright Star, according to press notes, "tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and 40s. When successful literary editor Alice Murphy meets an ambitious young soldier just home from World War II, their connection inspires Alice to confront her past. Together they discover a stunning secret with the power to transform their lives."
With music and book by Martin and music and lyrics by Brickell, the production has choreography by Josh Rhodes, scenic design by Eugene Lee, costume design by Jane Greenwood, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, musical supervision by Peter Asher, musical direction and vocal arrangements by Rob Berman and orchestrations by August Eriksmoen.
The Broadway production is produced by Joey Parnes.
For more information visit Kennedy-center.org or call (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.