Skip to content

New musical about Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe in development from Wayne Kirkpatrick and Don Chaffer

“Bluebird” is in the works from the executive producer of television’s “Nashville.”

The Bluebird Cafe (Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

A new musical entitled “Bluebird,” inspired by Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, is in development. Don Chaffer and Tony Award nominee Wayne Kirkpatrick are co-writing the book, music and lyrics. The musical is being produced by Steve Buchanan.

The world-renowned Bluebird Cafe is situated on the outskirts of downtown Nashville and is known for launching the careers of such singer-songwriters as Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift. The cafe’s 86-seat venue and in-the-round seating provides an unusual intimacy. The musical “Bluebird” will celebrate the songwriting scene in this iconic venue and Nashville, at large.

Kirkpatrick is the co-creator of “Something Rotten!” for which he also co-wrote the score with his brother, Karey Kirkpatrick. The pair received a Tony nomination for best original score for their work. Wayne Kirkpatrick also co-wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Outside of the Main Stem, He has had more than 200 of his songs recorded by country stars, including Brooks and Hill as well as Wynonna, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt and Tim McGraw. Kirkpatrick won a Grammy for “Change the World,” recorded by Babyface and Eric Clapton.

Chaffer is a recipient of the Georgia Bogardus Holof Lyricist Award from the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. He has also won a Drama League New Directors New Works Grant. Chaffer has released more than 25 albums as a solo artist and with his band, Waterdeep.

“To have the opportunity to tell the Nashville songwriter’s story within a theatrical setting is, for me, the best of both worlds,” Kirkpatrick said in a statement. “Don and I have created a parallel world to the real world that we know and love. This is truly a passion project for us.”

Kirkpatrick continued, “We have lived the songwriter’s life for over 30 years. It is our community and lifeblood, and we feel honored and fortunate to be a part of it. The Bluebird is our Ryman Auditorium, our Carnegie Hall. If you know, you know. I can’t wait to share it with those who don’t.”

Buchanan stated, “Wayne and Don are the perfect storytellers for this project as their lives have intertwined with characters of all ages and all walks of life that are on this journey. They know what it means to follow your dreams. The songs they have written for the musical are perfect for the stage, and the story they tell feels timeless.”

Buchanan served as the group president for Opry Entertainment for two decades. As general manager of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, he executive produced the musical “Always by Patsy Cline.” Buchanan first assembled the writing team for “Moonshine: The Hee Haw Musical” (writer Robert Horn and songwriters Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally), which eventually led to that team’s collaboration for Broadway’s “Shucked.” Buchanan was executive producer of the television series “Nashville,” which explored the lives and careers of fictional country artists loyal to the Bluebird Cafe.

Plans for the musical have not yet been announced.