We were certain it was only going to be a matter of time until Robert Price’s hot-selling book would be made into a movie.

We weren’t expecting this rapid a creation, though.

It’s now a play!

Well, we are fudging just a little. The musical, written by Barbara Vassar, isn’t going straight to Broadway. It’ll open in April at southwest Bakersfield’s Endeavor Elementary School. And, shucks, it’s not really based on Price’s book, “The Bakersfield Sound: How a Generation of Displaced Okies Revolutionized American Music.” The play, “A-pickin’ and a-Grinnin’: A Tale About the Bakersfield Sound,” is entirely Vassar’s work. She wrote it last summer, but has been refining it ever since.

“I wrote it because I wanted to do a history, but on an elementary school level,” she told us. 

And she hasn’t read Price’s book, although it’s on her to-do list.

The show has several Buck Owens songs and a couple of Merle Haggard songs, plus one tune by Creedence Clearwater Revival, a California country-blues-rock outfit from the 1970s that was undoubtedly informed by the Bakersfield Sound.

The play has a Buck-like character who fronts a band called Roy Roberts and the Roustabouts. There’s a character inspired by Dwight Yoakam, too.

Vassar, who’s been at her job for 10 years, said her cast, especially the boys, is so strong she’d put it up against a high school ensemble.

The curtain goes up April 15-16 and 22-23. Tickets are $5.

We’ll have to wait for a movie based on Price’s book. Probably for a long time.


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