A nice warmth emanates from Legacy’s ‘Bright Star’

The production relies mainly on the exceptional projection design of Bradley Bergeron to help establish the different locations of the scenes — the front door of a cabin, the shelves of a bookstore, a graveyard headstone, a running mountain stream, a full moon or starry night sky in the woods, the view from the back of a moving train. Bergeron’s work is extremely effective without calling too much attention to itself. And the same can be said for Eric Pitney’s atmospheric lighting.

The 1920s flashbacks (partly inspired by the folkloric tale of the “Iron Mountain Baby”) detail the star-crossed romance between Alice, an underprivileged free spirit from the wrong side of the proverbial tracks, and Jimmy Ray, the idealistic son of the town’s wealthy, corrupt major. When she gets pregnant, he wants to do the responsible thing, but their fathers collude to make other arrangements.

By the 1940s, Alice has become a “wallflower” and the editor of a respected literary journal, who finds a promising protege in Billy, a young aspiring author and soldier newly returned home from World War II. She senses in his writing him a “flair for gentleness and tenderness,” but she also encourages him to try his hand at a “sweeping tale of pain and redemption — like all Southern writers.”

As played by Kelli Dodd, there isn’t a lot of distinction between the younger and older Alice, apart from letting her hair down as the girl and wearing it up as the woman. Similarly, Truman Griffin’s Jimmy Ray is scantily clad in a T-shirt for the early scenes and then puts on a nice suit in the later ones.

Kelli Dodd and Truman Griffin appear in the bluegrass musical “Bright Star” at Legacy Theatre.

Credit: STEVE THRASHER

Credit: STEVE THRASHER

Kelli Dodd and Truman Griffin appear in the bluegrass musical “Bright Star” at Legacy Theatre.

Credit: STEVE THRASHER

Credit: STEVE THRASHER

Their acting performances are fine, but they chiefly excel in their musical numbers (accompanied by a prerecorded instrumental track): her solos “If You Knew My Story” and “Way Back in the Day”; and their duets “What Could Be Better,” “I Can’t Wait” and “I Had a Vision.” Caleb Peters (as Billy) also nails his delivery of the title tune. (Chris Brent Davis is billed as the show’s music director.)

The singular false note among all of the songs is the rollicking honkytonk routine “Pour Me Another Round.” With due respect to the talents that are mainly on display in it — performers Mandy Corbett and Dennis Hartman as a pair of relatively extraneous supporting characters, and the choreography of Bethany Hayes Smith — it’s precisely the sort of loud and flashy production number that, otherwise , the rest of “Bright Star” so admirably and refreshingly resists


THEATER REVIEW

“Bright Star”

Through May 8. 7 pm Fridays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. $30-$45. Legacy Theatre, 1175 Senoia Road, Tyrone. 404-895-1473. www.legacytheater.com.

bottom line: Nicely done, plain and simple.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.