Broadway's Shucked officially opened at the Nederlander Theatre April 4, after beginning previews March 8. The farm fresh musical comedy proved to be a buzzy opening night ticket, with country music stars, comedy icons, and plenty of Broadway stalwarts showing up in support. Read what the critics thought about Shucked here.
On the red carpet, the creators of Shucked reflected on the show's 10-year development process, marveling at how they're finally here on Broadway.
A three-time Tony winner, Jack O'Brien has been connected to the show since its inception 10 years ago as an idea from book writer Robert Horn. "I've had more time with this show than I did on The Coast of Utopia, and I rode that back and forth for years. We're a family. We've been through a lot together. And we came out the right end. We really did."
Grey Henson, a Tony nominee from his time in Mean Girls, plays a narrator in the show and he considers Shucked a blessing. "It is such a joy to get to make people laugh every night. This is the first time I've been on stage since the pandemic, and to come back with a completely original musical that no one has ever seen before is amazing. I think the world is really hungry for something beautifully light-hearted and simple. There's a lot of power in laughter, there's a lot of healing power."
Check out photos from the star studded opening night below, which include Kacey Musgraves, Kristin Chenoweth, Rachel Dratch, Tariq the corn kid, and Christopher Sieber in some fetching overalls. And read on for more reflections from the company of Shucked.
Shucked takes place in Cobb County where the population is small and the corn fields are endless. But trouble occurs when the corn crop starts dying and young Maizy (Caroline Innerbichler) must travel outside her town to find help.
"I am so glad to be here after all these years!" said John Behlmann, who plays Gordy, a sleazy conman from Tampa who is tasked with helping Cobb County. "This has been the light at the end of the tunnel." An alumni of the Robert Horn School of Comedy via his time in Tootsie, he is still astounded by the pace of the book writer's generative process. "People lose their minds over his stuff paired with this beautiful music. Robert would show up with pages of jokes to pick one from: that's not an exaggeration. And they're all good!"
Alex Newell, who plays whisky distiller Lulu and Maizy's best friend, agrees. "Robert Horn is a bleeping genius when it comes to comedy. He knows how to write a joke, and keep the integrity of the character as well. Watching people get to laugh in the theatre again, and be joyous and be jubilant is beautiful."
For Andrew Durand, who plays Beau (one of Maizy's love interests), the magic of Shucked lies in the partnership of Horn and O'Brien. "Robert Horns brilliant jokes have made this a really a special experience. Then you have Jack O'Brien, who has really challenged me throughout the process, and challenged all of us to really find the truth of these people and these characters and this town and what they're going through. I think that, up against the hilarious script, is special."
Ashley D. Kelley is the co-narrator of the piece with Henson, and their partnership and witty banter is her favorite part about the show. "We're a liaison between the audience and the characters in the story on stage. We get to clock in with the audience to see how they're doing, and that part is so much fun. I'm having the time of my life."
Shucked isn't just jokes! The show also features a tuneful country music score by Grammy winning duo Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. To star Caroline Innerbichler, who plays the heroine Maizy, it was high time for country to come back to Broadway. "Country music doesn't hide. It's not trying to put anything on. It's all honest, and raw, and everything is on the table."
Composer McAnally agrees, saying, "Hopefully people will come here who only know country music and think, 'Wow, if this is Broadway, I love it.' And hopefully people from Broadway will come and see it, and go, 'If this is country music, I love it.' We're bringing worlds together. That's the whole point of doing it."
Shucked is choreographer Sarah O'Gleby's second Broadway show this season, after autumn's short-lived Almost Famous. Her inspiration for the movement of Cobb County reaches all the way back to her early performance career. "I was in Chaplin the musical, and our corncob kick line was inspired by the bread roll dance from a Charlie Chaplin movie. We're having fun with it!"
Fun is also the thing for Kevin Cahoon, who plays the irrepressible Peanut, who has some of the best comedic lines in the show. "I feel euphoric. This is the greatest gift of my life, the greatest role, the greatest group of people to work with. And I'm not just saying that, I truly mean it. I'm just over the moon with euphoria." His advice to anyone that ever works on a Robert Horn show? "Don't change a thing. Don't change a word. Don't change a comma, don't change a period. If you do, you're gonna fall off the tightrope. Just follow Robert's map, because he is leading you to that golden Promised Land."
In the face of all this admiration, book writer Horn couldn't help but blush. "I just knew the story I wanted to tell. Corn represents so many things culturally, in terms of the heartland of America, and it just worked. I wanted to write a story about a town that had closed themselves off from the outside world, and I needed a crop that would grow tall and do that." He laughs. "Plus, much of my writing is corny, so it all sort of came together."
Shucked stars Caroline Innerbichler as Maizy, Alex Newell as Lulu, John Behlmann as Gordy, Kevin Cahoon as Peanut, Andrew Durand as Beau, Ashley D. Kelley as Storyteller 1, and Grey Henson as Storyteller 2.
They're joined by an ensemble comprising Jimmy Brewer, Audrey Cardwell, Dwayne Clark, Rheaume Crenshaw, Jaygee Macapugay, Scott Stangland, Yasmeen Sulieman, and Quinn VanAntwerp, rounded out by swings Miki Abraham, Ken Wulf Clark, Traci Elaine Lee, and Alan Wiggins.
Shucked features choreography by Sarah O'Gleby and music supervision, music direction, orchestrations, and arrangements by Tony nominee Jason Howland. Scenic design is by Scott Pask, costume design is by Tilly Grimes, lighting design is by Japhy Weideman, sound design by John Shivers, and wig design by Mia Neal. John Miller is the music coordinator, Billy Jay Stein and Hiro Iida of Strange Cranium designed the electronic music, and Juniper Street Productions handles production management.
Claire Trempe serves as company manager, Michael J. Passaro is the production stage manager, Michelle Bosch is the stage manager, Matthew Henao is the assistant stage manager, and general management is handled by RCI Theatricals. The production was cast by Stephen Kopel and C12 Casting.
Shucked is produced by Mike Bosner, Jason Owen, Jeffrey A. Sine, Bob Boyett, Jeremiah J. Harris, James L. Nederlander, Duda Allen, Karen Fairchild, Terry Schnuck, Jimi Westbrook, KSO Productions, AEG Presents, Sony Music Entertainment, S&Co, Horipro Inc, the John Gore Organization, and ZKM Media.