“It’s time to ‘reboot’ this country classic!”
Just about twenty years ago, attorney/singer-songwriter, Pete Wilke, wrote a musical—the book, the music, the lyrics; the whole thing—and called it, simply, Country the Musical. Because it is just that: a musical filled with original country tunes that tell the heartfelt tales of a group of six disparate people sharing life and love, heartaches and dreams, in a fictional country bar in Bakersfield, California. With a story that reflects the cares and concerns of everyday people, some of whom happen to have a passion for music and the ups and downs of making it, it lives up to its tagline: “… life and love in three-part harmony!”
Premiering at the iconic Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon in Orange County, CA, in 1999, the show quickly became an audience hit that struck a chord with reviewers as well. A later run at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, CA, in 2000, brought the show to its fictional “home” and offered the opportunity to shoot performance scenes that appear in the “song medley” video.
Directed and choreographed by Kay Cole, with music direction by Phil Swann, the show was designed as “environmental theater”: the club stood in for the set, with the band on stage, and actors playing “waitresses” and “customers” mingling in amongst the actual customers and staff. The soundtrack features 20 original songs, from rousing honky-tonks and edgy country-rockers, to tender ballads and “tears in your beer” weepers.
Filled with both humor and humanity, the story of Country the Musical touches on universal themes of love and heartache, career aspirations and disappointments, and the inevitable clash between youth and wisdom, experience and naivete… in other words: LIFE, taking the story through some relatable ups and downs to its touching, hopeful conclusion.
With a full country/rock band, and cast of six actors (three men, three women), the show is contemporary and compact, its themes both evergreen and universally appealing.
Original Cast/Crazy Horse: Lorraine Devon Wilke, Gary Clark, Lauri Johnson, Bruce McKinnon, Ronna Jones & Craig Woolson; narration by Troy Evans. Direction/choreography by Kay Cole. Still/video photography by Michael Lamont. Trailer created by Maureen Grammer.
For information on the “re-boot” of the show, go to the Country the Musical Company.
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