Director/ChoreographerJustin D. Harris
Justin is a director/writer and a graduate of Brown University in neuroscience. He is honored to make this ‘full circle’ Long Island premiere with RFCT, as it was here that began his spark. Justin is a teaching artist who’s worked from Manhattan to Montauk and as program management and audience development assistant at Oregon Shakespeare Fest. while coordinating the National Asian American Theatres and Artists ConFest. His extensive theatre resume includes his favorite credits – Broadway World Award winning performance as the Emcee in Cabaret, Chutes&Ladders in Water By The Spoonful, Officer Derek Jeter in Welcome To Arroyo’s at American Repertory Theater and Shakespearean roles – Othello, Brutus, Bottom, and Lucio. He thanks his incredibly talented cast, assistant director Peter Peterson for being his rock, production team, family and friends. This show is truly transformative and leaves you hopeful for the sun to shine again – in life, in love, and into us all.
Assistant DirectorPeter Peterson
Peter is excited to return to the RFCT this year and to be given the opportunity to be a member of the production team that has helped put the show together. Normally a performer, this is Peter's first foray into directing. Most recently, Peter has been seen as Andy in RFCT's production of Love/Sick and as Benny Southstreet in Guys & Dolls. He also played Pompey in Northeast Stage's summer production of Measure for Measure. He would like to personally thank Justin for his support and confidence throughout the collaborative process. He would also like to thank all the members of the production team and the cast for all their hard work in bringing this beautiful story of community and family to life. Enjoy the show!
Music Director/ConductorKaren Hochstedler
feels it is a great privilege to work on Bright Star in its Long Island premiere. This is her seventh show with RFC; she’s played keys for the past three youth productions: Sister Act, Bring It On and Legally Blonde, and has music directed Guys and Dolls, Gypsy and Catch Me if You Can. Other MD credits include NFCT’s Pippin,The Drowsy Chaperone, Oliver, Next to Normal, Thoroughly Modern Millie, First Date and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Bridgehampton HS’s Seussical, Bring It On, Little Shop, Spelling Bee, and Snoopy; East Hampton HS’s Les Miserables, Billy Elliot, In the Heights and Rent; as well as others with south fork high schools and Southampton Cultural Center. Karen has raised 6 children together with her superhero husband. “If you knew my story....” She gives thanks to God for the gift of music and the opportunity to work with these beautiful people, including her very own daughter. Enjoy and keep shining on!
has somehow produced a lot of community theater shows in the past few years, including Gypsy, Love/Sick and The Glass Menagerie for RFCT and Cabaret, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown at NFCT. She thinks it has something to do with her organizational skills and her inability to say no—plus her tendency to bake when stressed, something the cast always enjoys. Bright Star has been a joy to work on; thank you to Peter, Justin, Karen, Manning, Tom and Diane for collaborating and lending their considerable creative talents to the show. “Everything you can imagine is real.” --Pablo Picasso
Tom is happy to be back at RFCT, where he has appeared onstage in Guys and Dolls, Mars and Venus, Gypsy (Pop, Mr. Goldstone), 42nd Street (Oscar) and Hooray for Hollywood. Behind the scenes, he has handled sets (The Glass Menagerie), props (The Glass Menagerie, Guys & Dolls, Godspell), costumes (Guys & Dolls, Gypsy and 42nd Street) and publicity (Catch Me If You Can). He has also worked at NFCT, appearing in Cabaret as the dancing gorilla, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the 2014 variety show, and their costume revue. Backstage at NFCT, he has worked on props (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Cabaret, First Date, and Over the River and Through the Woods) and costumes (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Into the Woods).
Manning, who currently serves as Vice President on the RFCT Board, has been very active in RFCT in the past few years. He directed The Glass Menagerie, Guys and Dolls and two musical revues—Mars & Venus and Hooray for Hollywood. His onstage appearances for RFCT include Guys and Dolls, Mars & Venus, Gypsy, Catch Me If You Can, 42ndStreet, That’s Entertainment, Godspell and Hooray for Hollywood. At nearby NFCT, Manning has directed You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Cabaret, and has appeared on stage in First Date, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Over the River and Through the Woods, Into the Woods, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Carousel, and two variety shows. Those who venture further west may have seen him in And ThenThere Were None at Bellport Playcrafters; Oliver!, A Christmas Carol, Sunset Blvd, Annie, and Mameat CMPAC; Damn Yankees and Guys & Dolls at BroadHollow; Chess at Airport Playhouse; and as a soloist in numerous concerts.
Diane PetersonCostume Designer
is excited to be working on this production of Bright Star. She was coaxed out from behind her quilting table to costume this enthusiastic and talented cast of performers. It has been fun--thank you, Justin and Peter. Diane knows you will enjoy this timely play; it may be set in the 20's and 40's, but it’s still so relevant today.