The show's world premiere will be in the 2008-09 Broadway season. Producers Randall L. Wreghitt, Chris Presley and Ellen Rusconi are behind the current workshop (which has been in rehearsals since the week of April 28) and future production.
Peter Masterson, best known as the co-writer and co-director of the hit Broadway musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, directs and is 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).
Principal workshop casting includes Broadway veterans Michael Park (Smokey Joe's Café, Carousel, Little Me, the recent Applause for Encores!) as leading character Rusty, a country singer who reassesses his life; three-time Tony Award nominee Dee Hoty (The Will Rogers Follies, City of Angels, Mamma Mia!) as Lula; Tony Award winner Carlin Glynn (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Young Man from Atlanta) as Mama Ivy; Lauren Kennedy (Spamalot, Side Show, Sunset Boulevard) as Harley; Jeb Brown (currently in Grease, High Fidelity, Ring of Fire) as Earl; Jim Newman (currently in Curtains) as Charlie; and Michael McCormick (currently in Curtains) as Marty.
The workshop's ensemble features Eric Anderson, Becca Ayers (currently in South Pacific), Brad Bass (currently in Wicked), Darrell Blackburn, Bridie Carroll, Anderson Davis, Ryan Dunkin, Sarah Jane Everman (the upcoming Shrek The Musical), Jared Grimes, Stephanie Kurtzuba (currently in Mary Poppins), Courtney Laine Mazza (currently in Cry-Baby) and Allie Schulz. Production stage manager is James Harker.
As is usually the case with readings and workshops, this workshop casting does not reflect final casting for the Broadway production, which has yet to be finalized and announced. Pure Country — based on the 1992 film of the same name — will begin previews in spring 2009, with exact dates, casting and a theatre to be announced.
The musical features an eclectic, original score "drawing on the sounds of New and Classic Country, as well as Broadway and Adult Contemporary," according to the producers.
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).