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A-State Theatre to Present Musical 'Bright Star' in Third Production of the Season


JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s Department of Theatre will present its third production of the 2023-2024 season with the musical “Bright Star” by actor and musician Steve Martin.

Performances will be held at Fowler Center’s Drama Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24, and Friday and Saturday, March 1-2. A matinee performance will be held on Sunday, March 3, at 2:30 p.m.

According to A-State Theatre’s announcement, the production of “Bright Star” follows the journey of a young soldier returning from World War II and a talented young writer. A mix of bluegrass, folk, and traditional show tunes will bring the story to life.

The cast includes theatre major Allie Jones of Jonesboro as Alice Murphy; theatre major Gavin Wilson of Berryville as Jimmy Ray Dobbs; theatre major Zane Brewer of Conway as Billy Cane; theatre major Luke Holt of Jonesboro as Mayor Josiah Dobbs; theatre major Baylor McElhaney of Bauxite as Margot Crawford; theatre major Alex Jones of Russellville as Daddy Murphy; theatre major Haley Reed of Bay as Mama Murphy; theatre major Michael Joseph of Sikeston, Mo., as Daddy Cane; theatre major Julie Barnett of Crossett, as Lucy Grant; theatre major Christian Armstrong of Russellville as Darryl Ames.

Clarksville native Nick Bates, a double major in theatre and wildlife, fisheries and conservation, will play the role of Stanford Adams; theatre major Kat McDaniel of Paragould will play the role of government clerk; music major Kelly Clarke of Johannesburg, South Africa, is Florence; theatre major Emma Bryant of Siloam Springs is Edna; theatre major Max Emery of Newport is Max; and theatre major Ryan Carr of Jonesboro is Dr. Norquist.

Members of the band include Laura Watkins on piano, Alex Ditto on guitar, Spencer Rawlins on upright bass, Addison McIntosh on drums, Cody Crisp on banjo, Tim Burcham on mandolin, and Anastasia Tarkington on fiddle.

Dallas Martinez, assistant professor of musical direction, is co-directing with assistant professor of theatre Brianna Larson, who also serves as director of choreography. Kristen Sullivan, collaborative voice instructor in music and theatre, is the music director. Jeff McLaughlin, associate professor of theatre, is the scenic designer. Claire Abernathy, associate professor of theatre, is the costume director. Caisa Sanburg, associate professor of theatre, is lighting and sound designer.

Theatre major Skyla Conger of Haskell is hair and makeup designer, theatre major Trey Moore of Batesville is assistant lighting designer, theatre major Skylar Craig of Bono is assistant scenic designer.

Theatre major Judith Bossi of Batesville is stage manager. Two theatre students will serve as assistant stage manager, including Jo Crites who is also majoring in English, and Kylah Hood of Jonesboro.

Starke Prine, a theatre major from Arezzo, Italy, is properties master. Guest artist Raven Raliegh is sound technician. Theatre major Jace Smith of Jonesboro is light board operator. Theatre majors Olin Lowery of Searcy and Libby Wills of Russellville are spotlight operators.

Theatre majors Selena Hinds of Jonesboro and Destiny Johnson of Cabot are the mix engineers. Theatre major Angel Able of Austin is the audio technician. The wardrobe crew is made up of Cristal Martinez of Batesville, Nikolas Stark of Searcy, and chemistry major Larrie Nation of North Little Rock. Theatre major RJ Moad of Jonesboro will serve as run crew, and theatre major Emily Provence of Searcy is house manager.

Attendees are advised that the performance will contain mature themes, mental health challenges, as well as themes of loss.

Tickets may be purchased at the A-State Box Office at First National Bank Arena from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. One may also purchase tickets online at AState.edu/tickets. Prices are $12 to $17.

A-State students can get a free ticket at the box office with their student ID. Seating is limited and it is recommended that tickets are purchased in advance.