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A group of people on a stage

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Alex Newell, Caroline Innerbichler, Kevin Cahoon, and Andrew Durand in Shucked. (Photo: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman)




By Julia Polinsky


After a theater season of important work with a message, it’s a relief to sit in that incredibly expensive seat, and just let go and laugh. That rarity among Broadway shows, a completely original musical that doesn’t come from a comic book, movie, TV show, book, or ANYTHING ELSE, Shucked is unapologetically, delightfully good ol’ fashioned.

Hometown Boy loses girl becomes happily ever after? Check. Community comes together to overcome a terrible threat? Check. Sweet girl sees the world and grows up? Check. Sleazy outsider turns out to be not so bad? Check. Good triumphs, evil is vanquished, and the hero gets the girl? Check. Not an unpredictable moment in the whole thing, but in a good way? Check, check, check.

Taking place in the cornfields of Cob County (that should tell you everything about Shucked’s level of humor), the cliches come thick and fast. The townspeople may be surprisingly diverse, but the Storytellers, our Greek chorus/narrators, (Ashley D. Kelley and Grey Henson) explain that the origin legend of Cob County involves “a group of disparate, diverse Pilgrims… escaping Separatist Puritan oppression, … decide to plant corn!” The plan is to live in perfect hominy*. And keep outsiders out.

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Description automatically generatedAshley D. Kelley and Grey Henson in Shucked. (Photo: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman)

Beau, (Andrew Durand) a Small Town Guy and Maizy, (Caroline Innerbichler) his Small Town Girl, are about to get married, but wait! The corn is dying! Only the sweet, innocent Maizy has the courage to go through the wall of corn surrounding Cob County for help.

When she gets to the big city – Tampa -- she encounters Gordon, a Corn Doctor, not knowing he’s a podiatrist. Or is he? Nope. Con man, who has money trouble with Big Willie’s hard guys. In an absurd plot device designed to fix his financial problems, he goes off with Maizy to Cob County, where he meets Maizy’s corn-liquor-entrepreneur cousin, Lulu (Alex Newell), and sparks fly hot enough to pop kernels. But Gordon’s romancing Maizy, isn’t he? Wait and see.


“An absurd plot device” describes a lot of what happens in Shucked, cushioned by some killer performances and delightful songs. Ensemble numbers like ”We Love Jesus” particularly stick in the teeth, and of course, “Corn,” the opening anthem to the plant, does Cob County proud. Maizy’s lovely solo numbers (“Walls,” “Maybe Love,” are nicely balanced with Beau’s lament, “Somebody Will.” But the TKO comes from Lulu’s “Independently Owned,” an out-of-the-park belter that stops the show.

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Alex Newell in Shucked. (Photo: Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman)

Truth to tell, Shucked has more in common with what you’d expect from “Hee Haw” than Broadway, and that’s actually okay. The Broadway aspects are, of course, utterly splendid. Nobody does stage entertainment like the magic makers and dreamers of dreams who put Broadway shows together. That they bothered to bring Shucked to Times Square at all, meant the creative team would go all out. And they did.


Singable songs come from the country music songwriting team of Brandy Clark and Shane Mcanally, (18 Grammy nominations and 3 awards between them). The silly, Silver Queen-sweet, hilarious book comes from Robert Horn, whose theater laurels include Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards; for Shucked, he clearly leaned in on what he wrote for the TV series Designing Women. Multiple Tony winner Jack O’Brien directs the inspired cast with a sure hand, and gets huge boosts from Japhy Weidemen’s knockout lighting, a splendid scenic design from Scott Pask, and Sarah O’Gleby’s wonderful choreography — seriously, the opening number’s kick line may be the best Broadway kick line ever -- and that’s all there is to say about that.


Shucked may be the perfect sweet snack for this season’s theatergoer. How delightful it is to kick back and enjoy the work of masters in their fields, doing work they love.



At the Nederlander Theater

208 W. 41st. St.

Tuesdays, Thursdays at 7; Wednesdays at 7:30; Fridays, Saturdays at 8; Wednesday and Saturdays at 2; Sundays at 3

Tickets $49-$199 Ticketmaster:



*Yes, that’s a direct quote