Broadway fans are having corn-ary over news that “Shucked,” the Tony- and Drama Desk Award-winning surprise musical hit of the 2023 season, will be reaping its last standing ovations before departing for good from the Nederlander Theater on January 17. And with the holiday rush upon us, anyone on the fence about getting tickets maize-well get them now! At closing, the Tony-, Drama Desk- and Grammy-nominated musical will have played 28 previews and 327 regular performances.
“Every generation has a great musical that makes you ask, ‘What the hell?’” quipped Country Music legend Reba McEntire in a TV campaign for the show. “Shucked” is that show.
Billing itself as a “farm to fable musical”, ”Shucked” is the story of an unlikely hero, an unscrupulous con man, and the battle for the heart and soil of a small town. The plot is simple. The corn is dying in fictionalized Cob County and plucky heroine Maizy has to leave town before her wedding day in search of a corn doctor who turns out to be a shady podiatrist on the lam from loan sharks.
With a score by CMA and Grammy Award-winning country music composers Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally and a laugh-a-minute book by Tony Award-winner Robert Horn (“Tootsie”), “Shucked” was an unexpected hit with fans across the Broadway and Country Music spectrum. Critics were also tickled by the show’s heart and corny wit. The New York Daily News’ Chris Jones wrote that “It sends a warm-hearted message in the form of a Broadway show that takes a leaf out of Dolly Parton’s book and appeals to Boone County, Kentucky, as much as Brooklyn, New York.” Variety's Frank Rizzo hailed the show as “a throwback to the joys of musical comedy: where fresh talent is discovered, songs are catchy, jokes are plentiful, and characters are appealing and fun.” And Peter Marks of The Washington Post called it “an endlessly a-maizing cornucopia of jokes.”
A dark horse in a crowded musical season that saw nine new musicals open, “Shucked” garnered ten Drama Desk Award nominations and scored wins for Clark and McAnally’s score as well as Alex Newell (TV’s “Glee”) for best-featured actor. “Shucked” would go on to earn nine Tony Award nominations–with another win for Newell. “Shucked”’s awards kept coming. On November 10, Clark and McAnally received a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. Clark also received a 2024 Grammy nod for Best Country Solo Artist and Best Country Song for her single “Buried.”
Following its final bow at Broadway’s Nederlander Theater in January, “Shucked” will hit the road with the North American “Kernels Tour'' launching in Fall 2024. Other future productions in the works include a run in London’s West End 2025, and Sydney, Australia in Spring of 2026. “it’s not goodbye; it’s to be ‘corn-tinued’, “Shucked”’s producers promise.