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Can Alex Newell save ‘Shucked,’ Broadway’s high-fructose corn syrupy new musical?

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Shucked features music and lyrics by the high-profile (and queer) country songwriting team of Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, but Robert Horn’s (Tootsie) book, heavy with one-liners and not much else, fails to harvest the potential of the talented cast.Those willing to spend triple digits for one knock-out song can at least witness Alex Newell (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Glee) bring audiences to their feet in the upward-modulating barn-raiser “Independently Owned.”Hiram Abeysekera reprises his Olivier Award-winning performance in a dynamic stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel.Maizy (Caroline Innerbichler) refuses to sit around while the town goes belly up due to a mysterious corn conundrum.

Spoiler alert: If you think the decimated crops have anything to do with global warming or pesticides, you’re at the wrong show.

She leaves fiancée Beau (Andrew Durand) behind, heads off to the big city of Tampa, and solicits the help of a grifter named Gordy (John Behlmann) posing as a corn doctor.Shucked is unable to till the potentially fertile premise, however ridiculous, instead relying on Horn’s automated joke harvester.

The musical’s shallow root system fails to build any relatable connection among its characters. Maizy and Beau’s only visible chemistry is that they finish one another’s sentences.

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