Back in 1992, George Strait made his motion picture debut in the film Pure Country, playing a country superstar who walked away from fame and fortune to rediscover himself.
25 years later, Pure Country is being reimagined as a musical and the story updated by the film's original screenwriter Rex McGee. According to McGee, the musical will be much more dramatic and of course, involve a lot more singing. “Lulu sings, Harley sings, Grandma sings. And there's no barrel racing: there's just no stage big enough for barrel racing," McGee joked. Singer and actor Harley Jay will take on Strait's iconic roll and Steve Dorff and John Bettis who wrote the original songs for the movie's soundtrack came together for the 18 new songs featured in the musical.
When coming up with the story for the film Pure Country, McGee admits the movie was created to help boost Strait's career and spent a lot of time getting to know the singer. “He didn't look anything like a fancy actor, and he was just so shy and unassuming. But he was a legend in training at the time," McGee said of Strait. “There was an influx of a lot of new country artists at the time. Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Tim McGraw, and they were getting all of the attention. And George was being slightly eclipsed by all that. “This movie was made to help get George back in the spotlight, which it did."
The musical opens Friday, June 9 at the Irving Arts Center's Carpenter Performance Hall just outside of Dallas. Tickets are available at the center's official website.