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Since the reality show “Duck Dynasty” launched in 2012, it has shattered ratings records and become one of the most popular reality TV series on cable television.
Its stars, the Robertsons, have gone from family business owners to superstars to political pariahs, landing in the pages of magazines and on a wide variety of branded merchandise ranging from drink ware and gift bags to outdoor accessories.
Now the family behind the Duck Commander line of duck calls and other hunting supplies is being portrayed on stage … in a musical.
“Duck Commander: The Musical” opened at the Rio Hotel and Casino on April 15.
Four of the show's actors were able to met the family they're portraying. Three visited them at the family home in West Monroe, Louisiana.
"Miss Kay invited me to make biscuits with her," Mimi Bessette told KNPR's State of Nevada about her real-life counterpart, adding with a laugh, "We got so busy talking we didn't take the biscuits out of the oven on time, but they still tasted really good."
Tad Wilson, who portrays Phil Robertson, told a story about the family patriarch showing him around the family land. Wilson was given toast spread with homemade mayhaw jelly from trees Phil grew himself.
"I guard that stuff with my life," Wilson joked when his castmates asked him to share the jar he brought home. "$5 a spoonful."
Ginna Claire Mason, who plays Korie Robertson, said the daughter-in-law turned office manager took her shopping for new clothes when her suitcase was lost at the airport.
"It was just girl time," Mason said. "They make you part of the family."
The cast members said the musical's writers did not shy away from that part of the Robertsons' story. The controversy happened while the musical was being written and became a climactic point in the plot.
"We don't hide from the controversy," Wilson said. "It did have an impact... on the family and the business."
"It would be easy to act like it didn't happen... or just touch on it, but we spent a good amount of time on it," added Ben Thompson, the actor representing Willie Robertson. "I think we would be doing a disservice, to not only the people who are coming to see the show, but to the Robertsons, if we didn't address it."
Controversy aside, Wilson summed up his feelings about the colorful clan at the center of the show this way: "The heart of this family is huge. They wrap themselves in love. They are constantly loving other people. That is what I saw from every single one of them without exception."
Mimi Bessette, actor, "Miss Kay," Duck Commander Musical; Ginna Claire Mason, actor, "Korie," Duck Commander Musical; Ben Thompson, actor, "Willie," Duck Commander Musical; Tad Wilson, actor, "Phil," Duck Commander Musical
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