New York Times: Joan Marcus
"Bright Star" resonates like an old-fashioned tale of family, love, passion, heartbreak, and redemption, but with a fresh twist of original country and bluegrass tunes that elevate this slice of musical theater to a level of charm and poignancy that is hard to resist. Martin wrote the book and confesses to being teary-eyed as his own play unfolds. I confess I felt the same, almost from the beginning. It's no secret that he's a banjo picker from way back, and a big fan of bluegrass. The pairing of his musical genius with Brickell's lovely lyrics renders a magical score and winning choreography. The title song "Bright Star" is a little surprising right from the opening scene, but works nicely. "My Baby" goes straight to the heart without pause or apology, and "Sun's Gonna Shine" allows us to believe there will be better days ahead. At least a couple of ensemble numbers deliver a hee-haw hoedown that makes you want to jump up and join in, which does happen for curtain calls. Pure joy.
Could the show lose a couple of scenes? Probably. Broadway bound? I'm betting on it.