Oscar E Moore

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SHUCKED a new musical comedy – from Hellzapoppin! to Cornzapoppin!

April 21st, 2023 by Oscar E Moore

Go-o-o-ollee!  It’s been said that “laughter is the best medicine” – that is, second only to corn whiskey.  So perhaps it is, in such a lackluster theatrical season we get SHUCKED.  An attempt at the combination of both.

Billed as a new musical it couldn’t be further from the truth.  We have been here before.  Many times over.  This type of musical comedy has seen better days.  For example Head Over Heels and Romeo and Bernadette.  I laughed my head off silly with both.  Shucked on the other hand, for whatever reasons, failed to tickle my funny bones.

It’s a pleasant stroll down memory lane as to what was funny, what still is and what is not.  Go figure!

Songs (Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally) written in a country-western Nashville style with Hee-Haw humor chuckling at itself until the cows come home as a lone rooster is spared its life.  Corn on the cob one liners in rapid fire succession.  Gags!  Gags!  Gags!  Groan inducing and uncensored.  And often quite funny.  Inwardly I kept expecting at the punch line of the many jokes – Ba Da Boom!  Outwardly I heard the audience roaring with laughter.  Go figure.

The barn set (Scott Pask) looking like it has a hangover, ready to keel over at any minute is just fine and serviceable along with the tattered costumes by Tilly Grimes giving us an easy, comfortable feeling as the two storytellers Grey Henson and Ashley D. Kelley narrate the goings on.  Warming up the audience in confiding tones and enjoying their own jokes immensely.

Problem is the money making corn crop is dying.  Interfering with the marriage plans of Beau (Andrew Durand) and Maizy (Caroline Innerbichler) – both excellent in character and voice.

Beau has an Act I showstopper “Somebody Will” which is followed by Lulu (Maizy’s best friend/cousin) the real star of Shucked – Alex Newell, a zaftig distiller of her own whiskey with a tart tongue, a self-satisfied libido and a heart of gold who brings down the house with “Independently Owned”.  She knocked me for a loop with attitude to spare.  But I digress.

Maizy is dumb in the Dody Goodman style of dumb but decides to go off to Tampa to find a cure for the corn.  And so she meets up with Gordy a “corn doctor” (a podiatrist).  Now he owes lots of dough to some gangsters due to his gambling and is a major con-man who gives Maizy “the line” goes back with her to cure the corn – discovering some large buried purple rocks are cutting off the water supply and need I go further?

It’s all silly fun if you are a sucker for this type of humor.  Oh yes.  Gordy (an excellent John Behlmann) makes a play for Maizy but eventually falls in with Lulu as the befuddled brother of Beau – Peanut (Kevin Cahoon) immediately bringing to mind Don Knotts – often interrupts the crazy proceedings with his own low key comments/puns to the delight of the audience.

Director Jack O’Brien is up to his old skillful tricks.  Sarah O’Gleby shines with her “Barrel” choreography and Rockette line of corn husks.  But a little hokum goes a long way.

That’s all folks.

At the Nederlander Theatre.  Masks suggested.  208 West 41 Street 2 hours 15 minutes with one intermission.  www.shuckedmusical.com

Photos:  Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman

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