'Hee Haw' musical heading to Broadway
From Kornfield Kounty to The Big Apple — "Hee Haw" is going to Broadway.
The popular television program that showcased country music, comedic skits and featured overalls as the height of fashion is the basis for the musical, which is in its early stages. "Hee Haw the Musical" is a re-imagined version of the franchise, which ran from 1969 through 1997, and is expected to include a new generation of the straw-chewing characters while paying homage to beloved, iconic ones.
"We are very excited about bringing this new incarnation of 'Hee Haw' to the stage," said Steve Buchanan, president of the Opry Entertainment Group and executive producer for the ABC series "Nashville." Buchanan and Sally Williams, Opry Entertainment Group vice president of development, are the musical's producers.
"Our writing team is extraordinary and perfect for this original work," Buchanan said.
Robert Horn, who also wrote the musicals "Lone Star Love" and "13," penned the script for "Hee Haw the Musical" and popular Nashville songwriters Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally composed its music and lyrics.
Archie Campbell, left, and Junior Samples in the 'Hee Haw' cornfield
Amy Jacobs, the musical's general manager and partner and general manager at Bespoke Productions in New York, said that so far the play had done three readings — one for the authors and producers and two for potential partners and investors — and that the "Hee Haw the Musical" team was "blown away by the response."
"They laughed hysterically and stood up and applauded and many of them followed up with us afterward and expressed their interest in being involved as we move forward," she said. "Sometimes they clap in the room and then you don't hear from them again. We received many calls afterward."
Jacobs explained that the actors used in the readings were hired only for that purpose and are not necessarily the people who will bring the characters to life on stage. She said at this point in the process, they have yet to put together their production. Although, that might come next.
As for when the show might hit a Broadway stage, those dates haven't been announced. But Buchanan and Jacobs agree that it isn't an if, but when.
"Based on the response that we received from our December readings, we are feeling extremely positive," Jacobs said.