‘Shucked’ makes world premiere at Pioneer Theatre Company

Oct 26, 2022, 9:44 PM | Updated: 11:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Pioneer Theatre Company at the University of Utah is celebrating its 60th anniversary. In the very first program, there was an ad from KSL-FM.

Something big is happening there – a world premiere production before the show goes to Broadway – the title is “Shucked” – like corn. Arts Specialist Carole Mikita talked with the Tony and Grammy-winning team of creators.

Caroline Innerbichler belts out one of the new songs with personality and enthusiasm. ” Still see me in overalls and curls…” and the back-up singers add, “go, go, go!”

The setting was outside Pioneer Memorial Theatre on a bright, beautiful fall day. This unique preview performance was for the media and University of Utah community. The company of the world premiere production titled ” Shucked” let us hear the music.

” … a woman of the world!” Caroline ends with an up phrase and then all applaud.

Mikita met the incredible creative team – Jack O’Brien, legendary multiple Tony-winning Broadway director and Tony winner Robert Horn who wrote the book and Grammy winner Shane McAnally and recording artist/Grammy nominee, Brandy Clark, the songwriters.

Then Brandy took the mic and sublime sounds came out, ” The truth is I’d be lyin’ if I said I wasn’t scared…” She said they looked at the state of the country and wondered how to address it.
Robert Horn’s book, they said, inspired them.

“We wanted to write a show that sort of celebrated the idea of a community that had locked itself away from the rest of the world and what happens when an outsider comes that they’re afraid of?”

Brandy sang, “If we just stay here in limbo, we could lose it all…” Robert continued, “… the outsider learns how not to judge people who are different and the community learns you have to accept people who are in order to grow.”

With almost a hush, Brandy ended, ” If we could find a window, not a wall.” And Robert explained, “… and that was the seed, as it were, corn, from which we started this incredible journey.” Andrew Durand brought his heartfelt tones next. ” Ain’t no use to holdin’ on…”

Brandy Clark explained, ” The reason why this musical works is because you laugh until you cry and then you cry until you laugh.”

“A lot of times that is the only way out of sadness and I think our country is in need of some joy and the timing couldn’t be better,” Shane said.

Andrew sang, ” I never thought she’d give her heart to anyone but me…”

For three years, through the pandemic, the creative team and the performers stayed together. Jack O’Brien, the director says it is unheard of.

“It’s confirming to me because it’s like, not only do we love it, the people doing it are fixed to it as well.”

Then the whole cast came forth and sang with determination.  “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh… somebody will!”

This show is on its way to Broadway – the team chose Pioneer Theatre for the preview.

Robert Horn talked about Pioneer Theatre Company’s reputation under Karen Azenberg.

“I have a lot of New York friends who have done shows here and when I said, ‘ I think we’re going to be doing it at the Pioneer,’ they said, ‘ You’re in good hands!'”

Brandy and Shane explained audiences here will be able to relate.

“This is real people and the people that we’re talking to… and about,” he said.

Jack O’Brien added, “We find our own rhythm, our own energy and where better to do that than here in these beautiful mountains. It’s perfect! It really is beautiful!”

PTC management says ” Shucked” is a charming country music fable with a PG-13 rating. It’s about corn and coming together.

The show opens Friday, October 28th and runs through November 12th.

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‘Shucked’ makes world premiere at Pioneer Theatre Company