Avon Players’ Season Begins with the Heartfelt and Hopeful Musical ‘Bright Star’

From left to right: Jared Newton as “Billy,” Caitlin O’Brien as “Alice,” and Adam Wager as “Jimmy Ray.”
Photo Credit: Bryan Clifford

The buoyant bluegrass tunes of legendary entertainer Steve Martin and double-platinum recording artist Edie Brickell provide a country-style kickoff to a new season of theatre as Avon Players presents Bright Star running September 9-24 in Rochester Hills, MI.

Inspired by a true story and featuring a Tony®-nominated score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. When literary editor Alice Murphy (Caitlin O’Brien) meets Billy (Jared Newton), an aspiring writer just home from World War II, her long-buried feelings for a child she once lost is awakened. Haunted by longing and regret, Alice returns to her rural hometown of Zebulon, North Carolina to understand her past—and what she finds has the power to transform her life as well as the lives of others. With beautiful bluegrass-inflected melodies and moving characters, Bright Star is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.

Actor, writer, and musician Steve Martin and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell collaborated in 2013 on an album of original bluegrass music titled Love Has Come for You. Among the tracks were “When You Get to Asheville” and “Sun’s Gonna Shine,” which were later adapted by the creators for the musical Bright Star, which opened on Broadway in March of 2016. The plot for the musical was inspired by the story of the Iron Mountain Baby. The unique score earned much critical praise with Charles Isherwood of The New York Times writing, “The shining achievement of the musical is its winsome country bluegrass score.” Writing for USA Today, critic Elyse Gardner observed “Martin, a master ironist, captures some of that old-school spirit with a book that’s as forthright as it is smart, funny, and charming.” The production won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music.                

Director John (JD) Deierlein was drawn to Bright Star in part due to its hauntingly beautiful score that is stylistically distinct from most musicals. He also cites the poignant and heart-warming story as reasons for wanting to direct. “It’s an honor to work with our incredibly talented cast to create this show about finding your way home, the importance of family in the face of loss, and the power of reunion,” Deierlein said. He is also eager to introduce audiences to something new: “It’s an exciting opportunity for Avon Players to be able to present a show that has not been performed in the area.”

Tickets for all shows are $30. Call 248.608.9077 for tickets or order online at www.AvonPlayers.org.  Discounts on matinee tickets are available for seniors and students; call the box office for details.  Additionally, group rates are available by calling the box office. “Like” Avon Players on Facebook for special offers on tickets. All major credit cards are accepted and all seats are reserved. 

Show dates and times follow:

Friday, Sept 9               8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 10         8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 11           2:00 p.m.

Friday, Sept 16             8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 17         8:00 p.m.

Sunday, Sept 18           2:00 p.m.

Friday, Sept 23             8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 24         8:00 p.m.

Avon Players is celebrating its 76th year of bringing quality entertainment to its community. Founded in 1947, Avon Players is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit community theatre located along the winding banks of Stoney Creek in the quaint Historic District of Rochester Hills, only about two miles from the heart of downtown Rochester. Avon Players has been performing shows in its unique A-frame theater since 1965. With ticket prices set at a fraction of those at a professional theatre (plus free parking and concessions offered on a donation-only basis), a family of four can experience a sensational live theatrical event for about the cost of one ticket at a “downtown” venue. And for regular theatre-goers, an affordable outing can be an even better bargain by taking advantage of Avon Players’ season ticket packages, which yield discounts of up to 20% per ticket.  Additionally, season ticket holders enjoy priority seating selection and voting privileges in Avon’s annual “Stoney Awards.” Additional information regarding tickets and productions is available by calling the Avon Players box office at 248.608.9077 or by visiting www.AvonPlayers.org.

Cast and Production Staff by Community:

Auburn Hills

Jeffrey Monterosso (Ensemble)


Jonathan Grygiel (Ensemble)


Caroline Dargay (Ensemble)


Jared Newton (“Billy Cane”)

Clinton Township

Patty Hagel (Set Dress)

Patrick Daniels (“Daddy Cane”)


Mark Allen Hudson (Producer)

Kailyn Sprinkle (“Margo Crawford”)

Farmington Hills

Nick Frederick (“Mayor Dobbs”)

Lake Orion

Eric Rodman (Ensemble)


Jonathan Farrell (Ensemble)

New Haven

Lia DiFonzo (“Mama Murphy”)


Aaron Barnes (Ensemble)

Jill Blazis-Sloan (Ensemble)

Steve Maksymiuk (Scenic Design)

Tracey Nihem (Scenic Design)

Caitlin O’Brien (“Alice Murphy”)

Rochester Hills

John (JD) Deierlein (Director/Costume Design/Lighting Design)

Louise Holoday (Hair & Makeup Design)

Marlaina Jurco (Properties Design/Set Dress)

Nick Kibler (Sound Designer)

Royal Oak

Christiaan Lafata (“Darryl Ames”)

Shelby Township

Lori Smith (“Lucy Grant”)

Sterling Heights

Emily Brown (Ensemble)


Maritoni Harte (Choreographer)


Matt Cason (“Daddy Cane”)


Adam Wager (“Jimmy Ray Dobbs”)

About Rochester Media

Rochester Media publishes The Community Edge digital newsletter of recently posted articles from Rochester Media, a hyper-local news outlet covering all things in and around Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Oakland Township. Send us you press releases and news happenings to editor@rochestermedia.com.

Speak Your Mind