Hands on a Hardbody (musical)
|Hands on a Hardbody|
|Music||Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green|
|Basis||Hands on a Hard Body: The Documentary|
|Productions||2012 La Jolla Playhouse
2014 St. Louis
2014 Albany, NY
Hands on a Hardbody is a musical based on the documentary film Hands on a Hardbody. The book is by Doug Wright, music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, lyrics by Amanda Green. The documentary was adapted into a musical commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, California.
Hands on a Hardbody had a private reading in April 2011 in New York City. The musical had its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse, California, running from April 2012 through June 2012. Broadway previews began February 23, 2013 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, with the official opening on March 21, 2013. Directed by Neil Pepe, the cast featured Allison Case, Keith Carradine, Hunter Foster, Keala Settle and Mary Gordon Murray. Musical staging is by Sergio Trujillo, scenic design by Christine Jones, costumes by Susan Hilferty and lighting by Kevin Adams. The entire original La Jolla cast performed on Broadway. Sergio Trujillo replaced Benjamin Millepied, who had choreographed the reading and La Jolla production. The musical closed on April 13, 2013, playing 28 previews and 28 performances.
The first regional production was mounted by New Line Theatre in St. Louis, MO in May and June 2014. Directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, the cast featured Todd Schaefer (JD Drew), Jeffrey M. Wright (Benny Perkins), Rey Arceno (Jesus Peña), Mike Dowdy (Mike Ferris), Cindy Duggan (Janis Curtis), Zachary Allen Farmer (Frank Nugent), Ryan Foizey (Greg Wilhote), Alison Helmer (Virginia Drew), Marshall Jennings (Ronald McCowan), Taylor Pietz (Heather Stovall), Anna Skidis (Norma Valverde), Margeau Baue Steinau (Cindy Barnes), Luke Steingruby (Chris Alvaro), Keith Thompson (Don Curtis), and Marcy Wiegert (Kelli Mangrum), with scenic design by Rob Lippert, lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl, costume design by Sarah Porter and Marcy Wiegert, and sound design by Kerrie Mondy.
Theatre Under the Stars in Houston produced the show in June 2014, but artistic director Bruce Lumpkin substantially rewrote the show, without permission, reassigning songs and lyrics, rearranging the order of the songs (and therefore, the order of when contestants dropped out of the contest), adding new incidental music, and cutting sections of songs entirely. Shortly after opening, licensing agent Samuel French sent TUTS a cease-and-desist letter, and the production was closed prematurely.
Ten contestants vie for a "hardbody" truck in Longview, Texas. The last contestant who has his or her hands on the truck wins it. The truck is a Nissan "hardbody" pickup (on stage). The lives of each contestant, along with the car dealer and a radio announcer are revealed during the "hardbody" contest.
The New York Times reviewer wrote that the musical "sings sincerely and with a rough-edged humor of the dusty margins of American life.... features a wry, economical book by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright..., along with a soulful score by Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio".
The Time reviewer called the musical "engaging", writing:
Trey Anastasio... and lyricist Amanda Green have contributed a flavorful country-Western score that is tuneful, well integrated and evocative of the setting. And choreographer Sergio Trujillo had found inventive ways to keep the stage active, despite the obvious restrictions.
Awards and nominations
On April 30, the musical received three Tony Award nominations for the 67th Tony Awards. The musical received nine 58th Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Musical but won none. The production received three Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, but did not win any awards.
Keala Settle received a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance. The musical received one nomination for the 31st Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards but did not win.
Original Broadway production
- Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth. "New Musical 'Hands On A Hardbody' Will Roll Into La Jolla Playhouse in 2012" playbill.com, October 14, 2011
- " 'Hands On A Hardbody' Listing at LaJolla" lajollaplayhouse.org, accessed July 8, 2012
- Jones, Kenneth. " 'Hands On a Hardbody' Will Truck Into Broadways Brooks Atkinson Cast and Design Team Confirmed" playbill.com, October 2, 2012
- Moore, Sarah. "Sergio Trujillo Replaces Benjamin Millepied on Broadway Creative Team of 'Hands on a Hardbody'" theatermania.com, September 21, 2012
- Gioia, Michael and Jones, Kenneth. " 'Hands on a Hardbody' Will Close April 13" playbill.com, April 8, 2013
- "Hands on a Hardbody" New Line Theatre website, 2014
- Sherman, Howard. "Rebuilding 'Hardbody' At A Houston Chop Shop" hesherman.com, June 20, 2014
- "Park Playhouse -- July Production". Park Playhouse. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- Viagas, Robert, ed. (2013). The Playbill Broadway Yearbook: June 2012 to May 2013. US: Applause Theatre and Cinema Books. p. 161. ISBN 1-48034-159-2.
- Isherwood, Charles. "Symbolism and Struggle in a Contest of Dreams. Hands on a Hardbody at La Jolla Playhouse" The New York Times, June 5, 2012
- Zoglin, Richard. Hands on a Hardbody: Broadway’s New Pickup" Time, March 27, 2013
- Purcell, Carey (2013-06-09). "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards". Playbill. Retrieved 2103-06-10.
- Hetrick, Adam and Gans, Andrew. "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, 'Pippin', 'Matilda', 'Vanya and Sonia' Win Drama Desk Awards" playbill.com, May 19, 2013
- Gans, Andrew (May 13, 2013). "Pippin Is Big Winner of 2012-13 Outer Critics Circle Awards". Playbill. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Gans, Andrew. "69th Annual Theatre World Awards Presented June 3" playbill.com, June 3, 2013
- Gioia, Michael and Hetrick, Adam. "'Pippin' and 'Motown' Receive 2013 Astaire Awards" playbill.com, June 4, 2013