A few weeks ago, I was invited to a rehearsal of a new musical all about corn. Yes, you read that correctly. Corn. It’s called Shucked, and it’s hilarious. I mean, how could it not be — it’s about the food that goes in and comes out the same way. I don’t think you should blame me for this. That’s a line from the musical written by Tony Award® winner Robert Horn.
At the invite-only event, I was sitting directly in front of Horn, which I didn’t realize until the performance was over. According to the prolific writer, I was the “perfect audience” and helped him (a lot) with what worked and what didn’t. Golly, so much work. I’d venture to say most of it worked, but what didn’t slap you in the face hard?!
Shucked is produced by Mike Bosner and Jason Owen, and along with the Horn, there is a score by the Nashville songwriting team of Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally have collectively earned three Grammy Awards® and 18 Grammy nominations and direction by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien. The cast is first-rate; may I add, the music is where you can “get it.” There are at least two that you can find yourself singing. Of course, with Alex Newell, you have the songs that use his impressive range, but for the most part, I wager you will come out humming and singing too. Now to the cast. Gosh, what a find. The storytellers take us through the journey: Grey Henson, a Tony Award nominee known for his outrageous performance as Damian Hubbard in Mean Girls, and Ashley D. Kelley. The other leads (in alphabetical order) are John Behlmann, Kevin Cahoon, Andrew Durand, Caroline Innerbichler, and Alex Newell.
The ensemble features Jimmy Brewer, Audrey Cardwell, Dwayne Clark, Rheaume Crenshaw, Jaygee Macapugay, Scott Stangland, Yasmeen Sulieman, and Quinn VanAntwerp. The swings are Miki Abraham, Ken Clark, Traci Elaine Lee, and Alan Wiggins. You might ask how did this musical ever get off the ground? According to press materials, it was as simple as connecting a pair, a semi-neurotic New York comedy writer with two music superstars from Nashville. Perhaps there was moonshine, and moonlight tossed it. I don’t know. I was not there, but the pairing created an audacious and hilarious farm-to-fable musical about the one thing Americans everywhere can’t get enough of —corn. Shucked is about to turn Broadway on its “ear” and offer a “kernel” of hope for our divided nation. Go on, laugh. That’s the entire point.
I agree with the verbiage from the Shucked website: “The seeds have been planted. Now, all we need is a little water, a little sunshine, and a whole lotta love”. The seeds are the ridiculousness and the brazen audacity to write a book about — corn. The planting is finding a group of equally crazy and talented people to agree to create a musical masterpiece about corn. The water is the fluid cast, flowing like water, with an ensemble able to bring life to the crazy characters in a community obsessed with— corn. The sunshine is the musicians, choreographers, and all those other creatives that are charged with shaping an idea — about corn — into an extravaganza, as one expects from a Broadway musical. And finally, the love part. Well, that’s evident because at the heart of this crazy idea is love. How to find it? How to keep it. How to give it. Much like passing around — corn. And, ironically, corn and love work the same way: “corn — the only food that comes out the same the way it goes in” —so does love. And I am sure that you will love Shucked. Shucked will play at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41st Street) with preview performances beginning Wednesday, March 8, for a Tuesday, April 4, opening night.
With choreography by Sarah O’Gleby and music supervision, music direction, orchestrations, and arrangements by Tony Award nominee Jason Howland, the design team for Shucked includes Tony Award winner Scott Pask (scenic design), Drama Desk Award nominee Tilly Grimes (costume design), Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman (lighting design), Tony Award winner John Shivers (sound design), Academy Award winner, and Emmy Award winner Mia Neal (hair and wig design), and Stephen Kopel, C12 Casting (casting director).
Shucked is produced by Mike Bosner, Jason Owen, AEG Presents / Jay Marciano / Gary Gersh, Richard Smith, Jeffrey A. Sine, Walter Schmidt, Bob Boyett, Jeremiah J. Harris, KSO Productions, James L. Nederlander, Duda Allen, John Gore Organization, Madison Wells Live, S&Co., Terry Schnuck, and ZKM Media.
Previews begin March 8. Special preview pricing available now! Orchestra seats from $69. Score by Grammy Award-winning team Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. Tickets now on sale. Tickets on Sale Now.