Alluvion brings Broadway tale of love and redemption to Liberty’s Tower Theater

Billy Cane had been to war. There he saw weak men fight, strong men cry and the horrors of war. He has made it home only to find that his beloved mother has died in his absence.  

Yet he is ready to embark on his life full of hope and determination as he belts out the lyrics, “Bright star keep shining for me, shine on and see me through. Bright star keep shining for me, then one day, I’ll shine for you.” 

Cane and other characters of the musical “Bright Star” were created by Steve Martin and Edie Brikell. Martin is known as a banjo-playing comedian, as well as for his appearances on Saturday Night Live and his acting roles in movies like “Father of the Bride.” The musical duo wrote a 2013 Grammy winning bluegrass album “Love Has Come for You” and from that collaboration, they meshed their music with a true story about the Iron Mountain Baby to build the story line for the play “Bright Star.”

Liz Fitch | Liberty Champion
DREAM — Billy Cane (Matt Owens) tells Margo Crawford (Teagan Delaney) his plans for the future.

 The Alluvion Stage Company and its director Linda Nell Cooper bring the musical about love, heartbreak, family, scandal, and redemption to the Tower Theater stage with more showings Sep. 26, 27, 28 and 29. 

The actors

Becca Schultz makes the character of Alice Murphy grab your heart for an emotional ride from despair to jubilation. Schultz is an intern studying for her BFA in musical theater. In Bright Star she executes her two roles bouncing from a teenaged girl to a middle-aged editor of the Asheville Southern Journal with energy, believability and a voice of sheer perfection.

 Rendel Kellum plays Jimmy Ray with heart and soul as the character seeks to make things right but finds little hope in doing so after his father’s actions.

“Throughout the show you really have the chance to see Jimmy Ray transition from boyhood into manhood – acceptance of responsibility, self-sacrifice, loyalty – a lot of traits supported and played out in Scripture,” Kellum said. “It’s cool to watch how, even though he makes some pretty big mistakes, Jimmy Ray embraces his life and grows through it.” 

As another student in Liberty’s BFA musical theater program, Kellum brings a top notch performance to the show, acting and singing with hints of Ryan Gosling in his performance.

Liz Fitch | Liberty Champion
LOVE — Jimmy Ray Dobbs (Rendel Kellum) and Alice Murphy (Becca Schultz) sing about their life together.

Schultz and Kellum sing “I Had a Vision” about their characters love and missed opportunities for happiness, bringing tears of regret for their woeful story to the eyes of the audience. 

 Matt Owen, a theater arts major, presents the role of Billy Cane fresh home from World War II, and despite what he has seen in war, he has a heart full of hope. His character leaves his home town of Hayes Creek to venture to the big city to pursue being published in the prestigious Asheville Southern Journal. His performance captures the innocence and heartbreak of a story loaded with family secrets.  His character sings a duet with Alice Murphy, titled “If You Knew My Story,” foreshadowing the turn of events to come. 

 The cast of 20 other actors adds layers to the story in personalities including the parents and office staff of Alice Murphy, the father of Jimmy Ray and the love interest of Billy Cane. The ensemble makes set changes a part of the storytelling, all the while singing imaginative lyrics with clear voices and dancing with crisp movements.

The stage 

A moveable house floats across the stage, making the quick change of time and place flawless. One side is a front porch with an interchangeable window and door frames that create different homes. The other side is the place for the band and provides a walk-through area for actors to move from 1923 to 1945 in believable transitions. A star above the door quietly reflects the title of the play.

The time and place

The play is set in towns along the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Asheville, North Carolina. The time period switches back and forth from the 1945-46 years with flashbacks to 1923. 

Actors in Alluvion productions receive professional credit for their work. 

Parade, the next Alluvion production, is scheduled for Jan. 31- Feb. 16.

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