Stars over Davidson will shine brightly on young Lake Norman hoofer Rixey Terry in the award-winning musical “Bright Star” on the ArtSpace stage at Community School of Davidson on Armour Street.
Playing the lead as Billy Cane, Terry performs his last role in Davidson before heading to the University of Michigan’s School of Music Theater and Dance.
“It has one of the top three programs in the nation,” director Melissa Ohlman-Roberge said. “Having auditioned for admission, Rixey will graduate well prepared to choreograph, direct and write.”
Terry has been a rising star of the stage ever since he saw big shows as a little kid as his mother worked as a volunteer.
“I wanted to be up there,” he recalled.
So he enrolled in theatre summer camps, tumbling along area streets at college halftimes, parades and festivals in 2008.
Since then, Terry has been performing in Davidson, on various Charlotte stages (garnering Blumey Awards) and even in New York. With a number of leading and ensemble roles under his belt, Terry was accepted at the Northwest School of the Arts, from which he graduated earlier this month.
Terry’s mainstage career began in 2010 as Randy in “A Christmas Story” on Davidson Community Theatre’s Armour Street stage under the direction of Ohlman-Roberge. He continued to perform with her at DCP in “A Bear Called Paddington” and “Narnia the Musical.” In 2014 he was named dance captain of the ensemble for “42nd Street.”
“Moving people around helps to develop three-dimensional character,” said Terry, who values commitment to the ensemble. “You have to be a people person and pay attention to all the different senses, do your homework and be dedicated to rehearsals.”
Dedicated to song and dance, Terry followed Ohlman-Roberge to Community School of Davidson, portraying Piragua Guy for “In the Heights” in 2014. He played leads in “Hairspray” and “Tuck Everlasting,” and was dance captain in “Big Fish” and “On the Town.” His favorite role was “Pippin” a character he’d love to play again.
“Bright Star,” written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, combines Americana with musical theatre to tell an emotional variation of a true story from the early 20th century. Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville during the 1920s and 1940s – while backing into the 1930s – “Bright Star” is based on a tragic, historic legend.
“Although it is not an exact retelling of the legend,” Ohlman-Roberge said, “it is a beautiful story that has everything musical theatre buffs love — extraordinary music, heartbreak, tragedy, a rollercoaster of emotions and a happy ending that proves there will always be a ‘bright star’ of light to shine through the darkness.”
To clarify time sequences, Ohlman-Roberge opted to split the role Alice Murphy, played by Lisa Smith, with Chloe Walters portraying Young Alice. The role of Jimmy Ray, played by Erik D’Esterre, is split with Cley Butler as Young Jimmy Ray.
Kevin Roberge performs Mayor Dobbs, Lyndsey Stogdill is Mamma Murphy and Johnny Hohenstein plays Papa Murphy. Dennis Delamar portrays Daddy Cane, Emma Metzger is Lucy Grant, Peter Quinn is Darryl Ames and Hannah Roberge plays Margo Crawford.
Ohlman-Roberge is committed to “advance kids along by putting strength into them as members of the ensemble,” she explained. Her musical shows always include large casts of ensemble dancers.
Choreographed by Emily Hunter, the men’s ensemble in “Bright Star” includes Eric Page, John Pace, Jonah Staskel, Wilson MacIntyre, Tim Hems, Brandon Barber, Tim Thomas, Isaac Nicolau and Jack Humphries.
Ladies in the women’s ensemble include Mackenzie Thomson, Ginny Darcy, Leslie Freeman, Charity Helms, Hannah Whittington, Kate Durgin and Chrissa Weir.
Lacey Stogdill, Abigail Young and Annie Helms are dancers in the youth ensemble.
Time ensemble dancers are Hannah Ellington, Helena Dryer, Libby Helms, Katelyn Metzger, Zoe Freeman, Kasey Houlihan, Lindsay Flewell and Leila Wilhelm.
“Bright Star” is the last local opportunity to see Rixey Terry before he hits The Great White Way.
Performances are Friday, June 21, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 22, at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, June 23, at 2 and 7 p.m.