A pop rock musical set at Daytona in the 1960s is set to make its world debut in September.
According to the theatrical news publication Playbill, Helldrivers of Daytona is a musical production where “tensions flare as drivers compete for the top slot in the 1965 Daytona Speedway Jackpot 500.” The producers call the show a “NASCAR-themed musical full of girls, cars, and rockin’ guitars.” According to press notes: “Amidst a sea of tanned surfers, speedway groupies, motorheads, and bikinis, Lucky Stubbs must find a way to win his dream girl, Pepper Johnson, from rival driver Count Porcini Portobello, a dangerously enticing European hotshot. The race for love and glory is on in this spoof of 1960s rock n’ roll movies that’s fast, furious and funny.”
The show is meant to be a spoof of 1960s Elvis-style rock movies. Elvis did make a NASCAR themed movie in 1968 featuring shots of Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough and Tiny Lund.
Music for Helldrivers is by Berton Averre of The Knack, and is based on a book by Emmy award winner writer Mark Saltzman who calls the show “Big, loud, vulgar, sexy fun.” The show is directed and choreographed by Danny Herman with co-choreography by Rocker Verastique with musical direction by Linda Madonia.
The show begins previews September 8, prior to an official opening September 12, at The Royal George Theatre in Chicago. The production has been in development since early 2015 when the production team developed the show in residence at the Department of Theatre and Dance as part of the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop. The show as had stagings and workshops in Texas, Wyoming, Illinois and California. The debut is being billed as a “pre-Broadway tryout.”