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What to Know About Shucked, the Broadway Musical Featured on The Voice Finale
The Voice finale will not only highlight the industry's up-and-coming stars — it also features a performance from the musical Shucked, a corny but delightful new comedy taking Broadway by storm.
Broadway’s newest musical Shucked is more than a little corny — and that’s just the way they like it.
For the first time in The Voice history, the show featured a performance from a Broadway musical, highlighting the a-maize-ing Alex Newell. Newell took to the stage to sing the show’s hit “Independently Owned,” an empowered anthem for single people everywhere.
So, just what is the musical currently taking Broadway by storm about? Here’s everything to know about Shucked since it cropped up in New York last month.
What’s Shucked About?
Shucked is a hilarious “farm-to-fable” musical about (what else?) corn. It’s fittingly set in Cobb County, a small rural town in the middle of America, where corn reigns supreme, according to Playbill. But when their crop begins to fail, bride-to-be Maizy sets off to Tampa to find a solution to the town’s woes.
There she mistakenly turns to a con man, pretending to be a podiatrist or “corn doctor,” according to the sign outside his office, who decides to take advantage of the poor farmers.
As the show’s website explains, the story is about “an unlikely hero, an unscrupulous con man, and a battle for the heart & soil of a small town.”
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With no shortage of corn puns, the show is sure to keep the audience laughing, but there’s also a deeper message about inclusivity.
“On the surface, it’s a fun, bawdy, somewhat irreverent musical comedy. But the message of the show is a very simple one, which is about if you can’t accept people who are different than you, you never grow,” Robert Horn, who wrote the show’s book, told Variety.
Who Stars In Shucked?
Horn, who won a Tony for best book of a musical in 2019 for Tootsie, joined forces with the Grammy-winning duo Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally (who supplied the music) to bring the musical comedy to life.
Tony winner Jack O’Brien took the helm as director.
As for its stars, the role of Maizy is played by Caroline Innerbichler. (Fun fact: incoming The Voice Coach Reba McEntire was so taken by Innerbichler’s performance in the musical she told Entertainment Weekly she’d want the fellow redhead to play her in a biopic. Um, yes please!).
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Newell, an actor known for past roles in Glee and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, plays Maizey’s cousin Lulu and is already winning over audiences with the show’s hit “Independently Owned.”
As one Deadline critic described it Newell “all but steals Shucked with the showstopping star turn on the finger-snapping, fill-the rafters ‘Independently Owned.’”
Rounding out the cast are John Behlmann, Kevin Cahoon, Andrew Durand, Ashley D. Kelley and Grey Henson.
How Has Shucked Been Received?
Shucked opened on Broadway last month and is already making its mark, earning nine Tony nominations, including a nomination for the coveted best musical category.
Variety’s critic Frank Rizzo called it the “surprise delight” of the Broadway season.
“Those looking for silly, sweet and salty escapism will only be too happy to get ‘Shucked,’” he wrote.
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And it was dubbed the “best new musical of the Broadway season so far” by The New York Post.
Shucked’s Long Road To Opening Night
Corn, it seems, is growing on people, but it took 12 long years to get to opening night.
Horn was initially approached by executives at the Opry Entertainment Group, interested in making a theatrical adaptation of the popular tv show Hee Haw, The New York Times reports.
A few years later he recruited Clark and McAnally, two of Nashville’s top songwriters. But over the years, the show transformed into something completely different.
The first version of the show called Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical was tested out in Dallas, Texas in 2015 but failed to resonate with critics.
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Opry Entertainment Group backed out and the trio went back to the drawing board, scraping most of the songs. Once a new show had been created, the pandemic sprouted up, delaying production once again. But the delay gave the showrunners an opportunity to fine-tune the production even further, ultimately making a better musical.
“We have sat, as colleagues and friends, with nothing to do for three years while we turned these tender leaves over and over in our hands, thinking, ‘Maybe we can do better than that.’ We found values that it’s worthwhile to put out there,” O’Brien told The Times.
With its run finally beginning on Broadway in April, the showrunners are finally able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and the public has been all too eager to lend an ear.