First Crop of Idaho! The Comedy Musical Harvested for Smith Center July 6-17

Monday, May 16, 2016

The musical crop has been harvested and the first sampling is July 6-17, as The Smith Center presents IDAHO! The Comedy Musical.

This unique musical feast, written by Buddy Sheffield with music by Buddy Sheffield and local favorite Keith Thompson, is produced by The Smith Center. It follows the adventures, romances and antics of three couples who are quite the characters, including the free-wheeling Ida Dunn and Slim Johnson, a simple feller just searchin’ for some love.

Sheffield and Thompson, who met while attending college at the University of Southern Mississippi, went their separate ways. Sheffield became a comedy writer in Hollywood (“In Living Color,” among others) and Thompson became a creative mainstay in Las Vegas (“Jersey Boys” music director). The two reunited for this creative production, which could be considered, as Myron Martin, president and CEO of The Smith Center, describes it “…like one of the great American musicals -- like Oklahoma meets Blazing Saddles.”

Sheffield’s drive across country to Los Angeles in 1985, with a U-Haul truck and an AM radio, was the root of inspiration (the root of potato came shortly after) for this show. The long drive inspired Sheffield to sing songs to entertain himself and he started to make up a musical spoof in his head. Though he was driving through Texas at the time, Idaho became the state of choice for the show. While the dialogue and songs took several years to ripen, Sheffield knew it was ready for Las Vegas after he peeled off the excess.

The production, staged in Reynolds Hall, will not have fancy scenery or special effects, but it will give audiences a chance to see a production in development for Broadway, the creative process in action, a hilarious script and exceptional performers. What a bumper crop!

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