In what The New York Times is calling “one of the more audacious theater projects in years,” the Robertson family is working with influential Broadway producer Michael David to create a Las Vegas musical based on the story of the family’s rise to fame. But before rehearsals have even begun, the show is causing a stir among some LGBT advocates. The Times reports that some of David’s fellow producers, are “aghast” at the idea of one of Broadway’s own working with the controversial Phil Robertson.
“The show will end up challenging the views and assumptions of people across the political spectrum, more than most theater does,” said David. “The Robertsons are so unusual, their story so juicy, and theater shouldn’t be limited to telling stories about people you resemble or revere.”
According to the Times, many of David's colleagues do not agree:
Even before rehearsals start, the show is courting controversy. Several Broadway producers, many of whom are liberal, gay, or both, are aghast that colleagues would work with a family whose patriarch, Phil Robertson, has compared homosexuality to bestiality. Gay rights leaders are also eyeing the show with concern, while evangelical Christians — many of whom admire the Robertsons — might be hesitant to go to a Las Vegas casino and see whether New York artists have fairly rendered the family.
Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson doesn't seem too concerned about the controversy, telling the Times, “We’ve enjoyed the process of making a musical alongside the team who is interested in telling the Robertson family story from an outside perspective.”
The 90-minute musical, which will feature actors playing the roles of the Robertson family members, is scheduled to open at the Rio hotel and casino in February 2015. The script is based on Willie and Korie Robertson’s 2012 book, The Duck Comander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty.