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Why the Broadway musical ‘Shucked’ will never be mainstream

Graphic by Ethan Nelson

The 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured several sensational musical talents including Cher, Chicago, John Batiste and the cast of “Shucked.” The heartland-inspired musical turned many heads since it hit the stage in 2022, but even more at this year’s parade.

Carefully crafted by Broadway professionals and star country music writers, “Shucked” has received plenty of positive reviews during its time on the playbill. It is unsurprising that a popular show would have an act for the parade.

However, for many social media users, the appearance was mind-boggling. This could have been because of the nature of the tune sung by the cast, which was the opening track “Corn,” or the oddly grotesque passing of the corn in and out.

No matter how well-reviewed the musical was, it was a strange experience to be paired beside the aforementioned household names. Let’s discuss why.

It’s not that “Shucked” is all-around second-rate – the voices are fantastic. Alex Newell, who plays Lulu, the town bartender, even won a Tony for their performance. However, the plot and attempted message leave more to be desired.

For starters, dying corn interrupting an already abysmal wedding does not get the audience hooked. The female lead, Maizy, kissing another man also isn’t going to pique anyone’s interest.

There is just nothing entertaining, especially not the corn puns. The strange love affairs that crop up might be the reality of living in a tiny community, but it does not make for good musical theater.

The attempt to portray the clash between big city and small town by bringing in Maizy’s new lover from Tampa fails miserably. Maizy and her original fiancé, Beau, might keep an open mind about each other and work through their tribulations to save the corn, but she kisses another man within five minutes of meeting him; Beau needs to run away.

Instead, Maizy and Beau get married anyway. Then the big-city-wannabe marries Lulu. Where was the conflict again?

With that being said, “Shucked” is never going to be a universally loved act. The concept is far too outlandish and it lacks consistency. Just because the critics thought it was cute and funny doesn’t mean it deserved a place at one of the biggest televised events in America.

That said, those freaking out over the cast passing whole ears of corn between each other need to chill. It’s just not that serious.

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