Musical Based on Mindy McCready’s Life Opening Soon in Los Angeles
It's been more than two years since Mindy McCready took her own life, and now, McCready the Musical, portraying the troubled country star's career and the personal struggles she faced, will soon open at Los Angeles' Spirit Studio in Silverlake, Calif.
McCready will be portrayed by actress Jennifer Blake, whose numerous credits include Sex and the City and Behaving Badly, as well as theater roles in Hairspray, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Crucible.
"I grew up in a small town, singing forever," Blake tells Rolling Stone Country. "I loved [McCready's] ambition, her drive -- which is a lot of what we are focused on in 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."
McCready soared into the spotlight with her debut album, Ten Thousand Angels, in 1996, but she was unable to ever repeat that success. She released four more albums before her death in February 2013.
"There were a lot of those 'oh my gosh' moments, the synchronicities of her life," Blake says of the singer. "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 musical bypasses McCready's childhood, instead beginning when she was just starting to dip her toes in the music world, continuing through to the men she dated and the problems that ultimately caused her to end her life.
"We start in 1990, where she first sang at the Hired Hand karaoke bar in Fort Myers, Fla.," Blake explains. "She was a karaoke star, so to speak, and it was the night that she met Roger Clemens. All of this is true. What we've done since is re-imagined what happened in those situations and those conversations in all the research we've done."
Blake says that she feels a personal connection to the story and hopes it shows others who McCready really was.
"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."
As of now, McCready the Musical is scheduled for a six-week run, beginning on May 8, but Blake says that she hopes it will open in other parts of the country as well.
"We want to be able to tour with it, to take it around and set down in different bars or small theaters all around the country," she reveals. "We've been talking to a couple of friends in Nashville, Alabama, South Carolina, and just letting them know this is what I've been working on. They've said that it would do really well there. We can take the show anywhere. We're not relying on major lighting or sound. The overhead isn't insane. It's sort of a traveling minstrel show in a way. It's like a country concert when you walk in. It really is about the music."
Blake co-created McCready the Musical with the show's writer and director, Jon Bernstein. In addition to Blake, other cast members include band members Brady Harris, Jim Bianco, Michael Ursu and Clinton Pickens. Tickets are available on the show's website.
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