Cast by the country icon herself, Zooey Deschanel will play Loretta Lynn in an upcoming stage musical about the singer's life, Coal Miner's Daughter, producers for the Broadway-bound production have announced.
Lynn personally introduced Deschanel Thursday night on the stage of Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium during Opry Country Classics. The two then sang "Coal Miner's Daughter."
"It's a long way from Butcher Holler to Broadway in New York City. 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," Lynn, 77, said in a statement.
Though no opening date has been announced – it will not conflict with Deschanel's commitments to her Fox series New Girl, according to the producers – "I'm going to be right there in the front row," says Lynn. "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!"
Deschanel, 32 (and a musician in her own right as both a solo artist and as one half of the band She & Him with M. Ward), said, "Loretta Lynn and her music have been inspirations for me for as long as I can remember. She is a true legend and to be chosen to play such an iconic woman is a dream come true."
Lynn's bestselling 1976 autobiography Coal Miner's Daughter revealed in painful detail her impoverished childhood in Butcher Hollow, Ky. It also served as the basis of the 1980 box-office hit that won a Best Actress Oscar for its leading lady (who also was Lynn's personal choice for the role), Sissy Spacek.
Stars on StageBroadway has been particularly star studded the past three seasons: Hugh Jackman, Cynthia Nixon, Daniel Radcliffe, Andrew Garfield, Ricky Martin, Joe Jonas, Jim Parsons, Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Eric McCormack, Candice Bergen, John Lithgow, Stockard Channing, Daniel Craig, Denzel Washington and Scarlett Johansson have all appeared in various productions.
Many of them, including Channing, Nixon, Garfield, Jones and Hoffman, are up for Tonys this year (to air live on CBS Sunday, June 10).
Just this week it was also announced Tom Hanks would make his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy, a new play by his Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail writer-director Nora Ephron, about Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Mike McAlary, who died in 1998. It is expected to open in 2013.