Nichols will play the role of the country music superstar originated by George Strait in the 1992 film of the same name. Producers are aiming for a 2010 bow on Broadway.
Producer Randall L. Wreghitt — who is producing with Chris Presley and Ellen Rusconi — said in a statement, "Pure Country is thrilled to welcome Joe Nichols to the family. Not only does Joe bring his incredible talents to the project, but an understanding and authenticity to the role of Rusty [originally Dusty in the movie] that his fans and fans of the movie are going to love. We are very excited and proud to bring Pure Country and Joe Nichols to Broadway."
Nichols added, "The opportunity to perform on Broadway is very exciting, and at the same time a little bit scary. I saw Reba [McEntire] on the red carpet at the ACM's this past weekend, and she gave me a few tips. She also told me it will be one of the best experiences of my life. I can't wait to be a part of that wonderful theater community. And I hope to bring a little country to the big city!"
Nichols' recordings include "Man With a Memory," "Revelation," "A Traditional Christmas" and "III."
Peter Masterson, best known as the co-writer and co-director of the hit Broadway musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, is scheduled to direct Pure Country. Masterson is also co-author of the book with screenwriter Rex McGee. The score is by Grammy Award nominee and Emmy Award nominee Steve Dorff (music) and Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar nominee John Bettis (lyrics). The film soundtrack went to No. 1 on the U.S. Country Album Chart and spawned two No. 1 Country singles, "Heartland" and "I Cross My Heart." Both songs were written and co-produced by Dorff, the composer of the musical, and have been added to Dorff's otherwise new and original score for the stage musical.
Producers characterize Pure Country this way: "Sometimes fame and fortune aren't enough. In the new Broadway musical Pure Country, Rusty is a country music superstar at the height of his career with all the high stakes pressures that come with it. When they start to take their toll and he walks out of an overblown concert tour, his search begins to find himself — and the love he left behind. Pure Country is about the price of fame and one man's journey home."
The creative team includes Tony-nominated scenic designer Derek McLane (The Pajama Game), three-time Tony-nominated costume designer Ann Roth (77 Broadway shows including the original The House of Blue Leaves, Singin' in the Rain and The Odd Couple), Tony-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams (Spring Awakening, Passing Strange) and the Drama Desk Award-winning sound designers Acme Sound Partners (for La Bohéme, plus Spamalot, In the Heights).
Choreography will be by internationally-renown choreographer Seán Curran (James Joyce's The Dead).
Music director will be Eugene Gwozdz.
The film "Pure Country" (1992, Warner Brothers) was written by Rex McGee and directed by Christopher Cain. It starred George Strait (in his film debut), Lesley Ann Warren, Kyle Chandler and Rory Calhoun (in his final film appearance).