Hands On a Hardbody, With Songs by Amanda Green and Phish's Trey Anastasio, Begins Broadway Run
By Kenneth Jones
The Brooks Atkinson Theatre opens Feb. 23 as the Broadway garage of Hands On a Hardbody, the new musical about a gaggle of American dreamers engaged in an endurance contest to win a pickup truck. Keith Carradine, Hunter Foster and Mary Gordon Murray are among the players.
Opening night for the populist musical — which is inspired by the 1997 documentary film that chronicled a Texas-set example of the competition — is March 21. The show has a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife) and score by lyricist and co-composer Amanda Green (Bring It On: The Musical) and co-composer Trey Anastasio (of the pop group Phish).
Neil Pepe (Broadway's Speed-The-Plow) directs. Musical staging is by Sergio Trujillo (Memphis, Next to Normal).
Here's how the producers bill the fact-inspired new American musical: "For ten hard-luck Texans, a new lease on life is so close they can touch it. Under a scorching sun for days on end, armed with nothing but hope, humor and ambition, they'll fight to keep at least one hand on a brand new truck in order to win it. In the hilarious, hard-fought contest that is Hands On a Hardbody, only one winner can drive away with the American Dream."
The Broadway production features the full cast from the 2012 La Jolla Playhouse engagement: Keith Carradine (Tony Award nominee, The Will Rogers Follies), Allison Case (Hair), Hunter Foster (Tony Award nominee, Little Shop of Horrors), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Catch Me If You Can), David Larsen (American Idiot), Jacob Ming-Trent (Shrek The Musical), Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone (Tales of the City), Mary Gordon Murray (Into The Woods), Jim Newman (Curtains), Connie Ray (Next Fall), Jon Rua (In The Heights), Keala Settle (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Dale Soules (Hair), Scott Wakefield (Ring of Fire) and William Youmans (Wicked).
The show's Tony-winning design team includes scenic designer Christine Jones (American Idiot), costume designer Susan Hilferty (Wicked), lighting designer Kevin Adams (Spring Awakening), sound designer Steve Canyon Kennedy (Jersey Boys), with orchestrations by Trey Anastasio and Don Hart, and vocal arrangements/musical direction by Carmel Dean (American Idiot).
The La Jolla Playhouse production of Hands On a Hardbody is produced on Broadway by Broadway Across America – Beth Williams, Barbara Whitman/Latitude Link, Dede Harris/Sharon Karmazin, Howard & Janet Kagan, and John & Claire Caudwell, Rough Edged Souls, Joyce Primm Schweickert, Paula Black/Bruce Long, and Off The Aisle Productions/Freitag-Mishkin.
The show was commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse (Christopher Ashley, artistic director & Michael S. Rosenberg, managing director).
The Brooks Atkinson is at 256 W. 47th Street. Tickets range from $55-$155, and are available at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre box office and at Ticketmaster.com or at (877) 250-2929.
For those American dreamers who might not be able to pay top price for the show, Hands On a Hardbody has a discount "rush ticket" policy: A limited number of $32 rush tickets (price includes $2 facility fee) are available for every performance. These rush tickets, which are available to all patrons, are cash only and can be purchased at the box office only, beginning at 10 AM the day of the performance. There is a limit of two tickets per person.
For more information, visit handsonahardbody.com.
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