Bluegrass Musical “Bright Star” takes center stage at the Matthews

SPEARFISH – The Black Hills State University Music Department and the Matthews Opera House are excited to present “Bright Star,” a bluegrass musical written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.

Directed by BHSU Music Department faculty and starring a mix of both BHSU students and community members, the show will run Feb. 21-23. The Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday shows starts at 2 p.m. Tickets prices are $15 for adults and $5 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by phone at 642-7973. Buy tickets online at

This special presentation is a collaborative production between the Matthews Opera House and BHSU Music Department, with both organizations seeking to equip students with crucial educational skills and real-world experience as well as create a connected body of student and community performers.

“Community outreach is very important to us,” said Dr. Nancy Roberts, associate professor of music at BHSU. “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the community through the Matthews while also giving our students, many of whom are education majors, practical experience with musical theater”

“We are so excited about this new partnership,” added Darren Granass, executive director at the Matthews. “The Music Department at BHSU has done incredible work in putting together an excellent show, and we can’t wait for it to debut on our stage.”

The direction of the musical has been split between three of the Music Department faculty members at BHSU with Dr. Nancy Roberts serving as director, Dr. Jonathan Nero acting as music director, and Dr. David Berberick directing the pit band.

Set in the 1920s and 40s against the rich backdrop of the American South, “Bright Star” is the story of Alice Murphy, presented at two different points in her life. First, as a carefree young girl hopelessly in love with the mayor’s son and, later, as a successful magazine editor with a mysterious connection to a young man named Billy. As star-crossed teenagers, Alice and small town heart-throb Jimmy Ray fell in love and their relationship resulted in a pregnancy that threatened the ambitions of Jimmy Ray’s father. The couple’s infant son was whisked away and a string of lies unraveled their happy ending before it could even begin. Years later, now a successful literary editor, Alice meets a promising young writer named Billy who awakens her longing for the son she lost. Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past and unlocks a secret that will change both of their lives forever. With beautiful melodies and powerfully moving characters, “Bright Star” is an epic tale inspired by true events.

“The story was really what drew us to this show in the first place,” Roberts explained. “It’s a true story. It’s a hopeful story. The overarching theme is that good can come from evil. Additionally, the show really highlights the complexities of parenting. As parents, we all make mistakes, but as “Bright Star” illustrates, with forgiveness and grace, we can all have relationships with our adult children.”

“We also loved that the show featured bluegrass music, which is very popular in our region,” Roberts continued. “Both the singing and the band in this show are top notch and I really think audiences will love the music!”

Roberts went on to say that she feels this is a show that all ages will enjoy. “We have a multi-generational cast and this a great show for a multi-generational audience. I like to do shows that kids can come to, and while there are some difficult themes in this musical, it has great lessons that all ages can enjoy and learn from.”

For more information, please contact the Matthews Opera House, at 642-7973 or

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