Pictured: Ashton Botts
Olathe Civic Theatre Association has announced the cast and design team for its season-opening, “Bright Star,” directed by Julie Ewing with musical direction by Ashley Jones, and featuring a Grammy-nominated score by Steve Martin an Edie Brickell.
The cast includes Ashton Botts (Alice Murphy), Nathan Bills (Billy Cane), Matt Walberg (Daddy Cane), Willa Walberg (Margo), Christopher Morgan (Max), Sharon Johnson (Florence), Cassandra Pettigrew (Edna), Tyler Hileman (Darryl), Patty Whitlock (Lucy), Peggy Mall (Mama Murphy), Charles Christesson Jr. (Daddy Murphy), Reed Uthe (Mayor Dobbs), Austin Stang (Jimmy Ray Dobbs), Jonathan Arnold (Stanford), Andrew Ramaley (Dr. Norquist), Valerie Knott (Government Clerk), and Kelli Mattison (Well-Dressed Woman).
The Band: Guitar – Colvin Hooser, Banjo – Jay Kassen, Mandolin – Mike Stewart, Mandolin Sub 9/7 – David Ludwick, Fiddle – Ahafia Jurkiewicz-Miles, Piano – Jonnie Brice, Cello – Kieran Ojakangas, Bass – Andrew Ramaley, and Drums – John Gilmore.
The creative team includes: Carolyn Braverman (choreographer), Matt Pollock (stage manager), Jade Almsberger (asst. stage manager/asst. costumer), Philip Leonard (lighting designer), Joshua Finch (sound designer), Ken Schmidt (set designer), Alisha Morris (set construction/props designer), Heather Stewart (costume designer), Brittany Becker (sound board operator); Ella Amos, Nora Bishop, Brandon Heflin, Emily Heflin, Kayli Kimerer, Sheridan Sears, and Nicholas Sibert (set builders).
“Bright Star” follows the story of Alice Murphy in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the 1920s and 1940s. When Alice, the brilliant editor of a southern literary journal, meets Billy Cane, a soldier just home from World War II, they discover a powerful secret that alters their lives.
“I was able to see Bright Star during its Broadway run. I am a huge bluegrass fan and so that is what initially drew me to see the show,” comments Ewing. “As a mother, it struck such a chord. I wanted to stage it like an oral story being told over and over to family and friends out playing music on the back porch on a Sunday evening. Audiences can expect the hear festive bluegrass tunes and experience “all the feels. I can honestly say this is the first show I’ve directed where the first read-through ended with tears and hugs. It is a powerful story, told by some of Kansas City’s finest actors and I believe our audience will be thinking on this one long past the finale curtain.”
“Bright Star” runs August 30 – September 15. For more information visit olathetheatre.org.