NEW YORK -- After serving as the subject for an Oscar-winning film in 1980, the life story of country music star Loretta Lynn is now in development as a Broadway musical, with Zooey Deschanel on board to play the Coal Miner's Daughter.
Lynn repeated history with her announcement of the project and the casting of the lead role, bringing Deschanel onto the stage of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Thursday night following an Opry Country Classics performance. The pair sang a duet of the title song from the planned musical.
In 1979, Lynn used a similar platform at the Grand Ole Opry to announce the casting of Sissy Spacek in the movie directed by Michael Apted, which would win her an Academy Award for best actress.
"It's a long way from Butcher Holler to Broadway in New York City," said Lynn. "I never imagined I’d see Coal Miner’s Daughter on a movie screen, and now I can’t believe it’s going to be on a stage for people to see. I’m going to be right there in the front row. And I know Zooey is going to be great – she sings and writes her own songs just like I do, and we even have the same color eyes!"
"Loretta Lynn and her music have been inspirations for me for as long as I can remember," said Deschanel. "She is a true legend and to be chosen to play such an iconic woman is a dream come true."
Tracing Lynn's life and career from her impoverished childhood in Kentucky through her rise to become the First Lady of Country, Coal Miner's Daughter will be produced by Fox Theatricals and Scott Sanders Productions, the latter currently represented on Broadway by the revival of Evita. Creative team and dates for the production will be announced in the coming months.
The project will mark the Broadway debut for Deschanel, currently starring in the Fox sitcom New Girl. As a recording artist, she has released three albums as part of the indie duo She & Him with M. Ward. Lynn's most recent original album was 2004's "Van Lear Rose," produced by Jack White, which won two Grammys.