HPU’s Theatre and Music Departments Host Broadway Musician During ‘Bright Star’

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 20, 2019 – During High Point University’s performance of “Bright Star,” Wayne Fugate, original mandolin player for the Broadway show, visited campus to mentor students. The production was a joint effort between the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Music.

Fugate is one of the New York area’s most versatile acoustic musicians. He was the original mandolin player for the Broadway show and national tour of the production “Bright Star,” a tale of love and redemption set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1920s and 1940s.

Leading up to HPU’s performance of the show from Nov. 14 through 17, Fugate was on campus participating in several classroom visits, presentations and bluegrass jam sessions. For HPU’s “Bright Star” production, Fugate played in the orchestra pit.

“Having Wayne Fugate as a part of our musical theater production and for classroom visits was a big accomplishment,” said Dr. Ken Elston, associate dean of David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences and director of performing arts. “This Broadway artist’s presence at HPU continues to support the university’s tradition of bringing high profile professionals to campus.”

About Wayne Fugate

Making his musical home in the space in, around and between the American roots styles of bluegrass, blues, jazz and old-time music, he can swing gracefully from these styles to any of his other musical loves in the worlds of classical, gypsy jazz and Brazilian choro music. His playing combines emotion and intellect with technical precision, and while he puts his own creative stamp on everything that he plays, the respect he has for tradition is readily apparent.

A founding member of the widely acclaimed, eclectic string band “Uncommon Ground,” Fugate also performs and tours with “Mandolin Madness” an ensemble featuring mandolin great, Barry Mitterhoff and “The New York Mandolin Ensemble,” one of the country’s premiere chamber orchestra groups using instruments of the mandolin and lute families (mandolins, mandola, mando-cello, guitar and bass).

In demand as ‘first call’ freelance artist, some of Fugate’s other performing credits include stage work with Tony Trischka, Hazel Dickens, Kenny Kosek, Walt Michael & Co, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Kenny Kosek, Grammy Award winner Lisa Gutkin and banjo legend Bill Keith.

He has performed on two continents at noteworthy venues that include Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium and Weill Recital Hall, Symphony Space, The Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle, West Point, Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center and The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. He can be heard on the soundtracks of Emmy nominated film “Home” and Louis B. Mayer award-winning short film, “Respects.” Other film credits include a performing appearance in “A Bread Factory,” starring Tyne Daly, James Marsters and Janeane Garofalo.

​He continues his musical education with private instruction and has attended several continuing education programs at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He is active as a mandolin teacher, offering both private instruction and workshops at prominent festivals and music camps throughout the country. Fugate is the author of two, soon to be three, instructional and tune books for mandolin available through Alfred Publishing and Mel Bay.

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