Bright Star participants riff on their roles
KD_ Everyone’s bucket list should include being involved with a community theater production, if for no other reason than it is a nearly perfect example of an inclusive experience in the art of collaboration. There are a multitude of moving parts when it comes to putting on a play and it requires a sea of volunteers to make it come to fruition.
LionHeart’s recent production of Bright Star has been receiving a lot of well deserved praise since opening this past weekend and with the final shows approaching, here are a couple of takes on the experience from a pair of newer recruits to the local theater community.
Working with Lionheart on their production of Bright Star has been an amazing experience. My roommate, Katrina Higgins and I were recruited to work backstage, by the stunning Megan Wirts who plays leading lady Alice Murphy, a week or two before opening night. We had been involved in theater throughout our high school years at Grant High School, so we were thrilled to get involved again.
This is our first time working with Lionheart Productions and I’m so glad we chose to do so. From the first night we got there I felt welcomed and appreciated. We weren’t familiar with the show but everyone in the cast and crew made sure we knew what we had to do. The cast has been so helpful and supportive. I’d like to make a special shoutout to Brendan and Ashley Carroll for being overly helpful and always jumping in when the crew needed help. I’d also like to shout out David Hatter for always being appreciative and supportive, even when things don’t go as planned.
I’ve always loved theater and working backstage for Bright Star has made me feel at home again. Everyone that is a part of Bright Star has welcomed us like family. As a member of the backstage crew, I have had the privilege of witnessing the tremendous effort that goes into bringing this production to life and the immense satisfaction that comes from being part of a team that creates something truly extraordinary.
I want to thank Megan for inviting us to be a part of this team and always being a mentor to Katrina and me. I’m so thankful for the show and the people I’ve met while working backstage. Lionheart truly knows how to create a family on and off the stage.
The impact that the show has on the audience and on the cast is very apparent. The show is heart-wrenching yet captivating, and the ending provides a wave of relief that everyone hopes for. The scenes with Jimmy Ray, played by David Hatter, show how a strong male character can still be vulnerable in a time of hardship. It helps showcase how everyone is affected in a time of tragedy. He captures the grief and pain, as well as the youthfulness and love in a way that makes everyone root for him in the end.
There are many scenes that pull the audience in and allow them to experience the happiness and the heartbreak that comes from Alice Murphy’s story. Watching the show for the first time was incredible, even whilst working backstage. Everyone in the cast has worked so hard to get where they are today.
I am honored to be a part of this wonderful team and thankful that I get to experience this amazing show.
My name is Erica Wagner, and I have the privilege of performing with LionHeart Productions in Bright Star as the fun and flirty Lucy Grant. I had only lived in Newaygo for a little over a year when I walked into Grant Middle School to audition for Bright Star this Spring. Feeling very much still the new girl in town, I was anxious to walk into this new place, not knowing a soul, and having never auditioned for a musical. Much to my relief, the people I met at auditions were so welcoming to this shy newcomer, and I instantly felt some of my anxieties melting away.
I had always dreamed of performing in a musical, and when I received the call asking me to play the part of Lucy, I was over the moon!! Little did I know that this opportunity would be well beyond merely acting, singing, and dancing on stage. I have been challenged to grow in my skills, encouraged to gain confidence in my abilities, and most rewarding of all, I have found a precious new community of friends. These past couple months have been a rollercoaster of emotions, struggles, triumphs, tears, and laughter.
Much like my journey with LionHeart, this show will take its viewers through a rollercoaster of emotions. Bright Star has so much to offer: love, laughs, heartache, redemption, toe-tapping melodies, energetic dance scenes, emotional ballads, and heartwarming connection. Bright Star brings the best of historical fiction, comedy, musical, and drama together into one perfectly executed piece of artistic genius. Our cast and crew have worked tirelessly to do it justice. Seeing all of our hard work come together into these performances has brought me so much joy, and as our final shows approach, I am looking forward to the next opportunity I will have to perform with my new LionHeart family.
The final shows are at the Grant Fine Arts Center:
November 10 at 7:00 pm
November 11 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Tickets are $15 and $10 for seniors, students and veterans.
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