Broadway’s Hottest Hit Is Based on ‘Hee Haw’
Shucked is the biggest win for small-town folk in the big city since The Beverly Hillbillies.
Broadway’s unexpected breakout hit of 2023 isn’t about a singing witch, or Frankie Valli, or even a bunch of breakdancing Founding Fathers — no, the show that’s earned nine Tony nominations, tied for second among the field, is Shucked, a musical based on the comedy/variety hour Hee Haw. Shucked’s source material ran for 26 seasons from 1969 to 1993 as it gave country folk and city slickers alike a glimpse into the fictional Kornfield Kounty and the kooky kast of karacters who kalled it home.
Shucked shows Kornfield Kounty in a kalamitous krisis — a korn blight destroyed all the korn! Young lovers Maizy and Beau set out to save their town’s kash krop as well as their wedding plans, but they are beset by duplicitous cityfolk who scheme against them to steal riches. It’s a kan’t-miss klassic.
A musical based on a TV show that went off the air 30 years ago and is probably better known by the current theater-going generation for its Simpsons or Saturday Night Live parodies sounds to me like it wouldn’t be able to attract a larger audience than the temperance booth at the county fair — and that’s exactly why I’m not a Broadway producer.
Mike Bosner, on the other hand, is a Broadway producer — specifically, he’s the big shot who bankrolled Shucked and now enjoys a weekly revenue exceeding $700,000. Bosner revealed to Deadline that the show was commissioned by The Grand Ole Opry to reignite appreciation for Hee Haw in the big city; though, during the writing process, Shucked diverged from its source material enough to create something novel and new with a familiar feel. “I found just anecdotally that as many people that were obsessed with the idea of Hee Haw the musical were turned off by the idea of Hee Haw the musical,” Bosner explained, “But at the end of the day the real reason we moved away from it was not intentionally, it was more so because the show just evolved into something else.”
It’s fun to think that, along with the Hee Haw: The Musical branding, there’s another marketing pitch on Bosner’s cutting room floor along the lines of, “It’s like Oklahoma! if Oklahoma! didn’t suck!”