Through Oct. 11: MOONSHINE: That Hee Haw Musical reviewed by Jo Ann Holt

Whatever you have on your calendar from now until October 11th, make room for MOONSHINE.  Don’t miss the chance to laugh until tears stream down your face at Dallas Theater Center’s delightful new production, MOONSHINE, That Hee Haw Musical.

With great bluegrass music and ballads penned by the Grammy-winning duo of Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally and a hilarious book by Robert Horn, this show is more fun and much more clever and witty than expected. Especially since it’s derived from one of the corniest (albeit longest running) TV series of the 1970’s and ’80’s.

The creative team for this world premiere musical includes choreography by Denis Jones, orchestrations by Stephen Oremus, set designs by John Lee Bailey, costumes by Mara Blumenfeld, lighting by Phillip Rosenberg and sound by John Shivers.

With a terrific cast of singers and dancers directed by Gary Griffin, MOONSHINE sparkles with standout performances by Rose Hemingway as Misty Mae, a former Miss Kornfield Kounty who leaves her true love Bucky Jr. (Ken Clark) forlorn when she catches a Greyhound bus to the big city of Tampa.

There she becomes a celebrity TV weather girl who is wooed by Gordy (Justin Guarini), a con man. Hoping to pay off gambling debts, he talks Misty into taking him home to meet Grandpa (P. J. Benjamin) to ask for her hand, sure that her family home is located on top of some priceless minerals. Misty Mae’s best friend, local moonshiner Lulu (Ryah Nixon), is suspicious of this city slicker, and Bucky Jr. and his brother Jr. Jr. (Kevin Cahoon) also plot to stop the wedding.

Starting with the narrators known as Mountaineer #1 (Aaron Ramey) and #2 (Rob Morrison), everyone in this fine ensemble cast can sing and dance like the Broadway stars most of them are. There’s Savana (Mackenzie Bell), Gator (John Campione), Rock (Travis Kirk Coombs), Big Pearl (Julie Johnson), Cricket (Kate McMillan), Rooster (Harris Milgrim), Rowdy (Adam Perry), and April (Jonalyn Saxer), all of them in topnotch form.

There’s also an outstanding band of onstage musicians led by conductor Dominick Amendum .
Okay so the plot sounds silly, and most of you can already predict a happy ending, but you would need to see this show several times to appreciate all the sly comments and timely jokes spouted by hillbillies like Jr. Jr. and Lulu. The song lyrics are equally funny and on point, helping to move the plot forward in ways most musicals don’t even attempt.

MOONSHINE may have started here in Dallas, where it runs through October 11 at the Wyly Theatre, but it should enjoy a longer life. Tickets are still available at