Mindy McCready Musical Set for Premiere
The short, turbulent life of country singer Mindy McCready is the subject of a new musical that is set to open in Los Angeles in May.
McCready the Musical stars Jennifer Blake as the tragic singer, who shot to overnight stardom with her debut, Ten Thousand Angels, in 1996. That album went double-platinum and scored a No. 1 hit with "Guys Do It All the Time," but subsequent albums like If I Don't Stay the Night and I'm Not So Tough failed to duplicate that success, and by the time McCready released her last album, I'm Still Here, in 2010, she was signed to a tiny independent label. She died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February of 2013.
Though McCready's life provided enormous tabloid fodder — from her relationships with actor Dean Cain and sports legend Roger Clemens, to her repeated arrests for drugs and violence, to her multiple suicide attempts, a stint on Celebrity Rehab and death at age 37 — Blake says once she researched the role, she found she had more in common with McCready than she might have expected.
"I grew up in a small town, singing forever," she tells Rolling Stone Country. "I loved her ambition, her drive — which is a lot of what we are focused on the show — and her real deep, deep love for the men in her life, including her brothers. We started to notice a theme of all the different men in her life and how that formed and informed different songs she would sing along the way. It just lends itself to such a good tribute, telling her life through her own songs. To me, that was fascinating. There were a lot of those 'oh my gosh' moments, the synchronicities of her life. She wanted it so bad and when she got it so fast and skyrocketed and kind of burned out quickly, she spent the rest of her life trying to get back to that double-platinum country megastar. But she was an easy target."
The show opens at Los Angeles' Spirit Studio in May, where it is scheduled for a six-week run. After that, there are tentative plans to take it on the road. Blake says the production is small with low overhead, focusing on telling McCready's life story through her music, with a band onstage accompanying her performance. "It's sort of a traveling minstrel show in a way," she observes. "It's like a country concert when you walk in. It really is about the music."
Blake co-created the show with writer-director Jon Bernstein, and she says she came to feel very invested in the character.
"It sounds sort of actor-y to say, but I'm a fan, too," she says. "A lot of people know the negative parts of her life and there is some of that [in the play] because that's a large chunk of her life — making not necessarily the best decisions and surrounding herself with not necessarily the best people. The hardest thing has been trying to figure out which parts of her life to focus in on, because there are so many stories within the story."
McCready the Musical opens on May 8 and runs through June 12. Tickets are available here.
Country Stars Who've Suffered Terrible Tragedies