Thursday, August 31, 2023


Last year, I appeared on CUNY TV with director Jack O'Brien to discuss the legacy of Tom Stoppard. At the time, O'Brien was directing an out-of-town workshop of the Broadway-bound musical Shucked.

Well, when I heard about the show, I knew I would want to see it. As was the case with the immersive Great Gatsby I planned to see it in previews, but then life got in the way. Well, it's been catch-up time recently, and last night I finally got to see Shucked, which is not only very funny, but has some great songs.

That shouldn't be surprising since Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, who co-wrote the music and lyrics, both have long resumes as writers of popular country songs. The music is best when it hews closely to its country roots, as with the Act I numbers "Woman of the World" and "Somebody Will." The lyrics can be delightfully self-mocking, as country songs often are. The Act II opener "We Love Jesus" follows up its title line with the words "but we drink a little."

O'Brien did an excellent job directing the piece, and was aided by choreographer Sarah O'Gleby, who turned the song "Best Man Wins" into a tour-de-force of dance. The purposefully askew set designed by Scott Pask works for the off-kilter show, and the costumes designed by Tilly Grimes project the country characters who form the bulk of the cast, as well as the one outsider, who comes from that well-known cosmopolitan metropolis... Tampa!

Yes, this is a corn-ball show, and it's proud of it! There's also a digital lottery and rush ticket policy, so be sure to check it out if you can.