Shucked is the Corn-Filled Broadway Musical We Never Knew We Needed

-Brenda Hillegas
Photo by Mathew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman

If you visit the Shucked Instagram page (@shuckedmusical), you’ll see a brief description that certainly piqued my interest: A hilarious new Broadway musical about an unlikely hero, an unscrupulous con man, and a battle for the heart & soil of a small town.

You’ll also see very recent posts showing off the numerous accolades Shucked received this week- 12 Drama Desk Award nominations, 7 Outer Critics Circle nominations, 3 Drama League Award nominations. And next week, you’ll probably see even more, a lot more, when the Tony nominees are announced. I’d bet the farm on it.

It turns out, Shucked it downright incredible. There’s corn. A lot of corn. But Broadway’s latest must-see is filled with catchy songs, one-liners you won’t want to forget, and so much heart. It’s corny in the best way possible. The musical takes place in Cob County where childhood sweethearts Maizy (Caroline Innerbichler) and Beau (Andrew Durand) must postpone their wedding to find out why all of the town’s corn crop is dying. Cousin Lulu (Alex Newell) is the owner of Cob County’s whiskey distillery and she insists that Maizy leave town- something they never do- to find a way to save their corn. Tampa, of course, is where she ends up and meets con-man Gordy (John Behlmann) who thinks he may be able to get rich off of Cob County and settle his debts in Florida. That’s just the beginning of this quirky, full-of-surprises show.

The book by Robert Horn, who received a Tony win for Best Book of a Musical for Tootsie, has created a charming show that’s non-stop with jokes and puns (a few of the dirty ones will take you a minute to understand, and you’ll never stop laughing once you do). It’s truly the most unique thing I’ve seen in a long time. Philadelphia, it’s worth a trip to NYC to catch Shucked fresh on the field.

The music and lyrics by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, who collectively earned a bunch of Grammy nominations and have written for top country artists, is simply fantastic. You’ll hear songs like “Corn”, “Corn (Reprise)”, “Corn Mix”, but don’t let the titles fool you. You’ll be begging for the cast recording (out soon!) when you leave the theatre. Durand’s “Somebody Will” and Newell’s “Independently Owned” could easy top the mainstream country and pop charts. Newell’s standing ovation in the middle of Act One (!) for “Independently Owned” shows just how much power this musical (and their voice) has.

And another reason for Philadelphia, especially, to stand up and cheer- cast member Ashley D. Kelley, a Temple University Grad, is making her Broadway debut in this show. As Storyteller #1, she leads the audience through what’s happening on stage and takes on multiple minor, hilarious, roles to really make the plot shine. She creates the perfect Broadway duo with Storyteller #2, Grey Henson, who was Tony-nominated for his role in Tina Fey’s Mean Girls.

This musical is a bit Music Man, a bit Oklahoma. The small town vibe and close knit characters also give off some Waitress and Schitt’s Creek. Shucked is the show you never knew you needed. But once you’ve seen it, you’ll realize you had a corn-shaped hole in your heart that is finally full. It would be in your best interest to click this link right here and get tickets before the crop runs dry. This is the hot item on Broadway right now and you do not want to miss your chance to get Shucked.

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