Mineral Wells Area News

Local Music Legend Opens Broadway Show, Time to Get Shucked!

Local Music Legend Opens Broadway Show, Time to Get Shucked!
April 04
10:54 2023

By Amy Bearden/ Mineral Wells Area News

Shane McAnally and family being photographed on the Red Carpet just before the show made its Broadway debut. Photo from Instagram

Standing on a stage has been something Shane McAnally has done a lot of throughout his career as a musician, but he certainly never expected or even dreamed about a stage on Broadway. Actually, the thought wasn’t even on his radar, and while he won’t be performing on stage at the Nederlander Theater in New York City, his original music and lyrics, co-written with Grammy Award Winner Brandy Clark, will fill the air as Shucked The Musical opens on Broadway April 4th.

The stage is set and curtains open April 4 for Shucked The Musical. Musics and Lyrics co-written by Mineral Wells favorite local songwriter Shane McAnally Photo By Amy Bearden

Mineral Wells Area News was able to sit down with Shane at the NYC theater during one of the show’s previews a few weeks ago to catch up about his latest successful project.

As we sat in the balcony watching the director putting final touches on the show during mid-day rehearsals, I asked Shane if he ever gets tired of pinching himself with all this success, and there has been a ton of success for the 1993 Mineral Wells High School graduate.

Shucked the Musical opens on Broadway. MWAN recently traveled to NYC with family to see our favorite songwriter Shane McAnally, who co-wrote the music and lyrics for the show. Opens April 4th

“This has been nothing I could have ever dreamed of. I didn’t really know it was something I wanted to do early on in my career,” he said. “This project has given me a distinctive, indescribable feeling of joy that I have only felt one other time in my life.”

With three Grammy Awards sitting on his mantle, close to 50 #1 hit songs under his belt, and twice winning Songwriter of the Year by the Academy of Country Music, one could only imagine where that other “indescribable feeling of joy” came from in his career. I thought it was surely from one of those huge award shows or songwriting trophy wins, but I was completely wrong. Turns out, the other time he had that “indescribable feeling” came from another accomplishment he was a part of almost 30 years ago in Mineral Wells.

The 1992 One-Act Play State Championship Cast from MWHS The Boys Next Door Back Row Standing, third and fourth from the left are Amy Bearden and local music legend Shane McAnally

In 1992, Shane was a cast member in the MWHS One-Act Play that brought home one of the few State Championship trophies the high school has ever seen in any sport or discipline. The theater troupe performed a heart warming play called The Boys Next Door, which centers around four men with special needs and disabilities living together in a group home. The heartstring tugging show easily advanced through different competitions and eventually took top honors and won the UIL 4-A One-Act Play State Title. Shane nailed the role of the caretaker who managed the disabled boys as they navigated their life challenges. His performance in that role won him Best Actor at the District competition and definitely fed his love for theater.

“Do you remember,” he asked me referring to that indescribable feeling of joy he had all those years ago when officials announced the play won the state title.

“You better believe I do, just like it was yesterday,” I said back to him with a lump in my throat, choking back a tear from the memory none of us on that day would ever forget.

I was lucky enough to also be a cast member in that state championship winning show from 1992, which was Directed by the infamous Betty Hawkins, so I completely related to the “feels” Shane was referring too. He is absolutely correct. Winning State invoked a feeling you don’t experience many times in your life, and it’s actually pretty hard to even put the emotions into words. That indescribable feeling that was so impactful on him 30 years ago has finally returned to him with the opening of Shucked on Broadway.

There’s no doubt Shane’s love for theater was founded on the inspiration of his favorite high school drama teacher all those years ago. Betty Hawkins was a force as an educator and no doubt changed many students for the better. She was a star herself, landing the role of Darla in the original Little Rascals, but quickly learned Hollywood was not for her. Thankfully she eventually settled in Mineral Wells teaching theater for many decades, impacting countless numbers of students, including myself and obviously Shane.

Shane McAnally escorted his retired theater teacher BettyHawkins in 2016 as the Mineral Wells “Coming Home” Queen during Homecoming

“Can you imagine if Miss Hawkins could come see the show,” he said to me as we watched the rehearsal from our mezzanine seats. “Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

Amazing is an understatement! Of course my wheels immediately started turning as to how we could get Betty Hawkins to the show. At 91 years old, it certainly would be a story to tell if she could make it to New York City to see her favorite pupil’s success on Broadway. For now handfuls of Mineral Wells people have already traveled to the Big Apple to see the show during previews.

Alex Newell, playing LuLu, delivers a Tony worthy performance singing “Independently Owned” which was co-written by Shane McAnally Brandy Clark. Photo from Facebook

After finally seeing the musical myself, and I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure Shane will need to make room on that mantle for yet another trophy. The reviews are coming in and they are pretty outstanding. The show is definitely Tony worthy in my opinion, but I might be just a tad bit biased. However, I don’t know that I have ever seen a standing ovation in the middle of a Broadway show.

The ovation apparently happens most nights after Alex Newell, starring as LuLu and formerly seen on the hit TV show Glee, belts out and performs the show-stopping song “Independently Owned.” Click here to watch a small clip of their performance .

Amy Bearden and Shane McAnally standing in the Nederlander Theater

Shucked is an incredibly entertaining show loaded with one-liners that will get you laughing hysterically and uncontrollably, and no one delivers the jokes better than my favorite character known as Peanut.

Played by Kevin Cahoon, whom you might recognize from his current TV gig on Fox’s Monarch, Peanut is loaded with “dad-type” jokes that are integral to the shows humorous pace and thought provoking ideas. Cahoon is no stranger to Broadway with performances in The Lion King and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, just to name a few. However, Cahoon has never been nominated for a Tony Award, which is the coveted trophy for musical theater, but this could be the role that lands him a nomination. If not a win. His facial expressions as well as his ability to pull the audience into the story with his dry humor and line delivery is just remarkable.

Kevin Cahoon, seen standing on the box in the phot, plays the role of Peanut and he keeps the audience rolling with his one-liners and his “dad-like” jokes. Photo from Facebook

The plot of Shucked is based on a small Midwest town that survives on growing corn but when their favorite crop begins to die, the show’s star “Maizey” leaves Cob County to go find some help to save the corn. She meets a con-artist “corn-doctor” who returns with her thinking he will be the hero the town is needing, but really his intention is to swindle the farmers. The show is “corny” and will make you laugh out loud, possibly even cry, which is always a sign of good theatrical entertainment.

Reviewers are RAVING about the original new Broadway Musical Shucked

The cast will leave you in stitches but you better contain your laughter or you might just miss the next joke, as they roll through quickly. Some of the lines are shocking and even perhaps politically controversial, but the underlying idea of the show will give you pause and remind you that even fables, corny and all, can teach us lessons in humanity. The show’s message is about tolerating one another and inspiring unity among people with all sorts of differences.

Playbill from Shucked

Check out this great article from The New York Times to learn more about how Shucked found its way onto the big stage after ten years in the making or watch CBS Sunday Morning to learn more about the show’s journey.

Good luck to the cast and crew of Shucked on opening night, and congratulations once again to our hometown hero Shane McAnally on one more huge accomplishment. Now just to figure out how we can get Miss Betty to the Big Apple!