Lisa Rosada Rivera plays young Alice alongside Ben Reichenbach as a young Jimmy Ray in Goshen College's production of "Bright Star." (Gloria Bontrager-Thomas)

Musical ‘Bright Star’ delivers ‘infectious’ Americana music, heartwarming story

Performance: Goshen College Spring Musical – “Bright Star” written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Date and time: March 15, 16 & 22 at 7:30 p.m. and March 17 & 24 at 2:30 p.m.
Location: Goshen College Umble Center
Cost: $12 general admission, $7 students/seniors/GC employees. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 574-535-7566 or at the door beginning one hour before show time.

» See photos from GC’s production of Bright Star

The Goshen College Theater Department presented the spring musical Bright Star in the Umble Center March 15, 16 & 22 at 7:30 p.m. and March 17 & 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Bright Star is an uplifting musical journey featuring the Grammy-nominated Americana score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, 1940s literary editor Alice Murphy shares her story of loss, love and hope. After a chance encounter with a young, aspiring author just home from World War II, she relives the harrowing journey that helped shape her. As the action travels between the 1920s and ’40s, Alice works to understand her past. What she discovers has the power to transform both her life and that of the young author.

“We are pleased to be among the first to produce the musical Bright Star in the Midwest region following it’s 2016 Broadway run and subsequent national tour,” said Doug Liechty-Caskey, producer and professor of theater. “This likely means that few are familiar with this musical or its infectious Americana-style tunes co-written by Martin and Brickell. This is not your typical, run-of-the-mill musical, and the heart-warming story told from the perspective of literary editor Alice Murphy won’t disappoint.”

Based on real events and inspired by Martin and Brickell’s 2013 album “Love Has Come for You,” Bright Star has been nominated for five Tony Awards, five Drama Desk Awards and a Grammy Award.

“At the heart of this story is the music; the bluegrass, Americana score which makes the telling of this story flow, the poetry of the characters’ experiences resonate from the stage,” said Anna Kuk Kurtz, director and assistant professor of theater. “In a time in our world when we need it most, this is a musical that leaves us feeling that hope is not lost; that we are never alone.”

Tickets are $12 general admission, $7 students/seniors/GC employees, and are available online at, by calling at 574-535-7566, or at the door one hour before the show. Running time is two-and-a-half hours, including an intermission.

Bright Star is the third production in the GC Theater Department’s “40th Anniversary Season” featuring the work of female playwrights and composers.



Young Alice: Lisa Rosado Rivera

Adult Alice: Lauren Myers

Billy Cane: Matthew Smucker

Daddy Cane: Tobias Garcia

Margo: Kailey Rice

Daryl: Alex Miller

Lucy: Naomi Peters

Mama Murphy: Emmy Rupp

Daddy Murphy: Ben Meyer Reimer

Mayor Dobbs: Stephen Lowe

Young Jimmy Ray: Ben Reichenbach

Adult Jimmy Ray/Band Singer: Lukas Thompson

Stanford/Ensemble: Gavin Rusel

Max/Ensemble: Bek Zehr

Dr. Norquist/Young Daddy Cane/Ensemble: Daniel Robles

Edna/Spirit/Ensemble: Olivia Smucker

Florence/Well Dressed Woman/Spirit/Ensemble: Abigail Greaser

Government Clerk/Spirit/Ensemble: Haley Willis

Band Singer: Nithya Abraham

Band Singer/Dancer: Anna Smucker

Band Singer/Dancer: Noah Tiedeman


The Bright Star Band 

Banjo: Todd Wolford

Guitar/Banjo: Alexander Seymour

Guitar: Josiah Phiri

Viola: Roxy Gehring 

Cello: Ainslee Zou

Fiddle: Janell Preheim

Bass: Cade Fisher

Accordion: Kent Beck


Production Team

Producer Doug: Liechty Caskey

Director: Anna Kurtz Kuk

Music Director: Joshua Boggs

Choreographer: Tom Myers

Technical Director: Phil Weaver-Stoesz

Band Conductor: Jose Rocha

Assistant Director: Ben Meyer Reimer

Assistant Music Director: Ellie Keener

Stage Manager: Jonah Yoder

Assistant Stage Managers: Gloria Bontrager-Thomas, Anna McVay, Dali Rodriguez

Set Design Team: Phil Weaver-Stoesz, Violet Smucker, Katy Thornthwaite

Light Designer: Ben Ganger

Costume Designers: Oliver Duell, Lauren Myers, Shianne Harrison, Jessi Carpenter

Hair and Make-up: Designer Shianne Harrison

Props Designer: Rachel Buckley

Sound Designer: Claire Mitchel

Assistant Light Designer: Adam Hinegardner

Assistant Props Designer: Nicole Whipple

Assistant Sound Designer: Jacob Claassen

Dramaturg: Kit Addams

Movement Captain: Abigail Greaser

Rehearsal Pianist: Krysta Hartman

Build Crew: Nicole Whipple, Katy Thornthwaite, Riley Borntrager, Lauren Myers, Ben Meyer Reimer, Levi Glick, Andrea Peters