‘Hee-Haw’ Musical ‘Moonshine’ to Premiere in Dallas

“Moonshine: That Hee-Haw Musical,” the stage tuner adaptation of cornpone variety show “Hee Haw,” has locked in an out-of-town tryout run that kicks off the 2015-16 season at Dallas Theater Center.

“Moonshine,” which in recent months has picked up theater-industry buzz in the wake of well-received workshop presentations in New York, has songs by country-music names Brandy Clark — up for the new artist trophy at the Grammy Awards this weekend — and Shane McAnally, with a book by Robert Horn (“13”). The production draws on the show’s pre-existing material as inspiration for an original, modern-day tale set in the TV show’s Kornfield Kounty, centered around new character Misty Mae as she returns to her hometown with a boyfriend she picked up in the big city.

Director Gary Griffin (“Honeymoon in Vegas,” “The Color Purple”) stages the show with his “Honeymoon” collaborator, choreographer Denis Jones. No formal Broadway plans have yet to be set for “Moonshine,” but producers have made no secret of their Broadway aims and, given the timing of the Dallas run, it seems likely the musical could make its way to New York later in the 2015-16 season, should all go well.

Opry Entertainment (Steve Buchanan, Sally Williams) and Fox Theatricals (Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson) — the latter duo steering musical “Fun Home” to Broadway later this spring — produce “Moonshine” in conjunction with Dallas Theater Center. Nina Lannan is on board as executive producer.

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At DTC, “Moonshine” will run Sept. 2-Oct. 11 as part of a 2015-16 season that also will the include the world premiere of a new play by Samuel D. Hunter, “Clarkston,” as well as stagings of “All the Way,” “The Mountaintop” and “Dreamgirls,” among other shows.

The new one by MacArthur genius grant winner Hunter, “Clarkston” (Dec. 3-Jan. 31), folds the legacy of Lewis and Clark into a story about two young men in rural Washington. Like “Moonshine,” “Clarkston” looks poised to hit New York, with prior Hunter plays “The Whale” and “Pocatello” both playing at Off Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons in recent seasons.

The third world premiere in DTC’s 2015-16 lineup is “Deferred Action” (April 20-May 15, 2016), David Lozano and Lee Trull’s play about undocumented immigrants, produced as a collaboration between DTC and Cara Mia Theater Co.

Also on the theater’s upcoming slate, DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty directs Robert Schenkkan’s Tony-winning LBJ bio “All the Way” in a co-production with Houston’s Alley Theater. “Dreamgirls,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Mountaintop” and regional perennial “A Christmas Carol” round out the season lineup.

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