LAS VEGAS — There is no shortage of beards, camo, hunting and God alongside a bit of recent real-life scandal in "Duck Commander Musical."
The Las Vegas show premiered Wednesday at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino and tells the story of a family duck-call business that led to reality show juggernaut "Duck Dynasty."
The 90-minute show with Broadway backers and bonafides, including the company behind "Jersey Boys," alternates between something akin to a live-action commercial celebrating the family business to a mostly cheery singing and dancing scrapbook of their tight-knit journey.
Skeptical observers who envisioned a high-kicking dance number complete with hunting rifles and flashy sequin camouflage costumes when they heard of the musical won't be disappointed. Producers, in on the joke, included one such traditional Broadway-style number. The rest is populated with earnest songs with lyrics such as "there's no time for rest, this is my quest," and "be yourself in camouflage" and on the other end, comic relief courtesy of the family's Uncle Si offering fart jokes and "that's what she said" replies. Scenes are set against a high-tech stage set of moving screens including appearances by the real-life Robertson family.
Nearly the entire "Duck Dynasty" family from Louisiana attended the premiere at the Rio hotel and casino, later dining on biscuits and gumbo at an after party.
Missing from the audience and show's development was bearded patriarch Phil Robertson who was quoted vilifying homosexual behavior in a January 2014 issue of GQ magazine.
Theatre-goers expecting an apology from the actor playing Phil Robertson won't get one. Instead, they get a glimpse into his long-ago descent into drunken irresponsibility before he finds God and atones in pathos that arrives near the end. The explanation for the comments? Phil was just being Phil. And Phil, like the rest of the family, loves everyone, they sing.
On stage, the subject arrives at first innocuously then ominously with a magazine reporter who after being consistently snubbed by the family patriarch asks: "What are your thoughts on Leviticus?"
In real life, GQ has said the question that led to Robertson's comments was:: "What, in your mind, is sinful?"
Anyone who read the profile or ensuing coverage knows what's coming and the play coyly makes no direct mention of the comments themselves.
Emmy-award winning actor Michael Emerson who played Ben on the television show "Lost" and was in the crowd Wednesday night to support his friends, the show's creators, said they managed the real world fallout, "in a really delicate way."