Not many teenaged theatre students have the opportunity to connect with the creative mind behind the musical they’ve spent months preparing. This past weekend, however, the Minnehaha Academy Players had just that experience.
Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and playwright Edie Brickell flew into Minneapolis this weekend for a performance at First Avenue downtown. This just so happened to be the same weekend that the MA Players put on four showings of Bright Star, a musical that Brickell created in partnership with Steve Martin. (Yes, that Steve Martin.)
On a lark, theatre teacher Nicholas Freeman contacted Brickell’s management team and let them know about the MA production. Who knows? He thought, Maybe she could stop by!
From Innocence to Maturity
Freeman’s moxie paid off on Saturday when Brickell showed up five minutes before the matinee and stayed for the whole show.
After the show, Brickell stayed on and interacted with the team and audience about the show and made time for photos and autographs.
“Edie remarked that seeing the students—from a place of innocence—play roles that moved into maturity and deep grief changed the story entirely,” shared parent Katie Craig. “On Broadway, it is the other way around. Adults must find a return to innocence first before they can move forward.”
This last-minute guest appearance isn’t exactly Brickell’s normal pre-show-MO. In case you already forgot, just a few hours after her visit to MA Brickell was on stage at First Ave. She told Mr. Freeman that she’s usually a bit of hermit before a performance and stays cozy in her hotel room, but something made her decide to pop in and see the students.
“The kids were touched—and shocked—that [Brickell] took the time to hear their version of this beautiful story,” Freeman says.
Can't Wait to Tell Steve...
Brickell’s parting words to Mr. Freeman left all of those involved encouraged and grateful:
“It was truly a beautiful and touching performance by all,” she said. "I was very impressed by your entire production. The care and work were evident...Please let those kids know they touched my heart. And please tell your colleagues and collaborators on the show they really did a wonderful job. I can’t wait to tell Steve and our creative team.”
Thank you, Edie Brickell, for giving our students the gift of your time.