Based on the 1992 Warner Brothers film
Lyric Stage closed its 24th season with its 21st world premiere, PURE COUNTRY, June 9-18, 2017. Performances were June 9, 10, 15, 16 & 17 @ 7:30 PM and June 11 & 18 @ 2:30 PM in the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Based on the 1992 Warner Brothers film starring George Strait, PURE COUNTRY the musical tells the story of Rusty, a country music superstar at the height of his career with all the high stakes pressures that come with it. When the pressures start to take their toll and he walks out of an overblown concert tour, his search to find himself — and the love he left behind — begins. Pure Country is about the price of fame and one man’s journey home.
The book is by Rex McGee, the film’s screenwriter, with music by Grammy Award nominee Steve Dorff (“Every Which Way But Loose,” Celine Dion’s “Miracle,” Kenny Rogers’ “Through the Years”). Lyrics are by Grammy nominee John Bettis (George Strait’s “Heartland” and Madonna’s “Crazy for You”). The movie, written by McGee and directed by Christopher Cain, starred George Strait (in his film debut), Lesley Ann Warren, Kyle Chandler and Rory Calhoun (in his final film appearance). The soundtrack went to No. 1 on the U.S. Country Album Chart and spawned two No. 1 Country singles, “Heartland” and “I Cross My Heart.” Both songs were written and co-produced by Steven Dorff, the composer of the musical.
The cast was headed by Harley Jay (Broadway’s RENT) as Rusty and Marissa Lesch as Harley, the love he left behind. Also in the cast were Brent Loper, Cara Serber, Julie Johnson, Justin Duncan, Jacob Lewis, Jared Barnes, Gregg Hullett, Justin White, Ryan Anthony, Joshua Bangle, Jordan Crites, J. Anthony Holmes, Scott Hynes, Shannon Conboy, Stephanie Felton, Caitlin Galloway, Sydney Kirkegaard, Rachel Reininger, Kirsten Simmons and Jenny Tucker.
Fresh from his QUANAH triumph, John de los Santos returned to direct and choreograph PURE COUNTRY. Eugene Gwozdz made his Lyric Stage debut as music director/conductor. Scenic design was by Randel Wright with lighting design by Julie N. Simmons.