Kornfield Kounty is coming to Broadway, with Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally along for the wild country ride. The two lauded country songwriters are crafting all of the songs for the upcoming musical based on the popular TV series, Hee Haw.
“It’s been a whole different experience,” Clark told Rolling Stone Country during a recent coffee date with Old Dominion. “For me, songwriting is storytelling, and that is storytelling at its finest.”
Clark and McAnally have written about 30 songs for the show, 19 of which will make the cut. Their pairing has proved country gold (and platinum) in recent years, as they were the lyrical masterminds of the Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” (with Trevor Rosen) and Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” (along with Kacey Musgraves, with whom they also penned “Follow Your Arrow“). Still, with all their success on Nashville’s Music Row, New York’s Great White Way has been a challenging new ballgame.
“It’s one big love story that takes two and a half hours, so you’re telling little bits of the story but can’t let too much unravel at once,” Clark says of the difference between writing for country radio versus musical theater. “And with Broadway, you can push the boundaries, so there’s some pretty risqué content.”
Hee Haw, which ran from 1969-1992, wasn’t exactly what you’d call risqué, though some of the “Hee Haw Honeys” wore their skirts a little high and shirts a little low. The TV series was set in the fictional Kornfield Kounty and mimicked the variety show, Laugh In, only with Southern accents and country-themed sketches. Country music legends Roy Clark and Buck Owens were the show’s hosts for most of its run.
The script for Hee Haw: the Musical was written by Robert Horn, while the play is produced by Grand Ole Opry executives Sally Williams and Steve Buchanan. It is tentatively set to open next spring.