'Shucked' is corny. It's country. And it's coming to Broadway.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, April 16, 2024

'Shucked' is corny. It's country. And it's coming to Broadway.
Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, who co-wrote the music for “Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical,” in Dallas, Sept. 12, 2015. The musical just finished a pre-Broadway run in Utah, and will begin New York performances in March 2023. (Ben Sklar/The New York Times)

by Michael Paulson

NEW YORK, NY.- “Shucked,” a corn-pone musical with roots in country music and rural humor, will arrive on Broadway early next year after more than a decade of starts and stops.

The musical, which finds laughs in a worrisome alliance between a hick and a huckster, features a score by a pair of well-regarded Nashville, Tennessee, songwriters: Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. The duo, who have not previously worked on Broadway, have teamed up with a writer who has: Robert Horn, who in 2019 won a Tony Award for writing the stage adaptation of “Tootsie” and who has also written this musical’s book.

“Shucked” has a complicated development history. The three writers first collaborated on a musical called “Moonshine,” which was based on “Hee Haw,” a long-running country-and-comedy variety show that first aired on television in 1969. In 2015, a production of “Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical” was staged at the Dallas Theater Center in Texas.

But in the years since, the three writers have turned their attention to “Shucked,” which has some stylistic and narrative similarities to “Moonshine” but which is no longer affiliated with the “Hee Haw” brand. Horn told BroadwayWorld last month that “Moonshine” “had its life, then ended, then the three of us decided to start completely over to create an original story. The entire story, tone, musical palette, creative team, everything evolved as we developed this new idea.”

“Shucked” had a pre-Broadway run that ended last weekend at the Pioneer Theater Company in Utah.

“Shucked” is being directed by Jack O’Brien, a three-time Tony winner, for “Hairspray,” “Henry IV” and “The Coast of Utopia.” The show will star Caroline Innerbichler, making her Broadway debut in the role of a naive farmgirl, and John Behlmann (“Tootsie”) as a citified con man, and will also include Alex Newell (“Once on This Island”), Andrew Durand (“Head Over Heels”), Kevin Cahoon (“The Wedding Singer”) and Ashley D. Kelley (Broadway debut).

The show is scheduled to begin previews March 8 and to open April 4 at the Nederlander Theater. The lead producers are Mike Bosner (“Beautiful”) and Jason Owen, a Nashville-based artist manager; it is being capitalized for up to $16 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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