Steve Martin and Walter Bobbie Talk ‘Bright Star’ Musical’s Real Life Origin Story

By James Knight on Mar 27, 2016 03:17 PM EDT

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s new bluegrass musical, Bright Star is currently on Broadway and it looks it is going to be a runaway hit. The events of the show were inspired by the real life story of William Moses Gould Helms, the Iron Mountain Baby, who was thrown from the Iron Mountain railway when he was born and was saved by a Civil War vet. Now, Martin and Bright Star director, Walter Bobbie are opening up about how the story shaped the musical.

Steve Martin recently spoke to Playbill about shaping Bright Star’s fictitious events around the real world story of the Iron Mountain Baby:

“I’m from Texas, but I left when I was five. I have roots in North Carolina. Edie and I wrote this beautiful song called ‘Asheville’--she wrote the lyrics for it--and we wanted to put that song in the show. It was a natural setting for us, but we needed to work out things like ‘Where would a train be running in 1923?’ ‘Where would there be mountains and towns far apart?’ And a story started forming.”

Bright Star director Walter Bobbie also spoke about the story’s origins, adding:

“I’d heard of the event of the Iron Mountain baby. The fiction that Steve created around it, frankly, has changed since we first did it. Certain characters and songs have come and gone. He took an actual event that happened, I believe, in 1904, and he wrote a ‘What if?’ story around it. It was just wonderful watching him and Edie create a possible scenario from this really shattering, horrible event and to have it come to a happy resolution.”

Bright Star is currently playing at the Cort Theatre, located 138 W 48th St, New York, NY.

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TagsSteve Martin, Walter Bobbie, Talk Bright Star, Musical, Real Life, Origin, Story