A report stemming from New York Post writer Michael Riedel suggests that a musical based upon Hee Haw, the television series that ran from 1969-71, is set to arrive on Broadway for the Spring 2015 season. This comes after a staged reading last month at Pearl Studios.
The project is being put together by Steve Buchanan, head of Opry Entertainment Group, which owns Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. It is directed by Michael Barakiva and features a book by Robert Horn. It also features music and lyrics by Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark. Major producers present at the workshop included Bob Boyett, Jill Furman, and representatives from The Shuberts, the Nederlanders, and Jujamcyn Theatres. One of the producers told Riedel in a statement, “I haven’t laughed so hard since I saw Book of Mormon. ”
Hee Haw, hosted by country artists Buck Owens and Roy Clark, was a variety show that was inspired by Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. However, it differed in that is was less topical and was primarily centered around country music and rural Southern culture. The show was known for its country music and humor with fictional rural Kornfield Kounty as a backdrop, as well as its host of scantily-clad women showcased in stereotypical farmer’s daughter outfits and country-style mini dresses. It aired on CBS from 1969-1971 before a 20 year run in local syndication.
The musical production is said to differ from the format of the television show which featured songs and sketches. Rather, it is supposed to tell a story about “a wily sexpot from Kornfield Kounty and her boyfriend. They’re destined to be married, but she decides she wants to see the world first,” according to Riedel. Several of the characters made famous from the TV show appear in the musical including Grandpa Jones, Misty Rowe, Lulu Roman, and Junior Samples.
More information will be released at a later time as the project progresses.