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"You can hear the sound of America singing in this daring new musical."
- The New York Times

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A truck to a Texan
Is just like his hat;
You don't feel complete
If you ain't got that.
A truck is a marker,
A part of the plan,
That says you're grown up,
That says you're a man.
If you live in the north,

You can drive a sedan,
But if you live in Texas
And you ain't got no truck,
Buddy, you're stuck.


If I had this truck,
I'd have a piece of the pie.
If I had this truck
And a drop of good luck,
I might get by...
          — Hands on a Hardbody

New Line closes its 23rd season with the American regional premiere — the very first production since its Broadway run — of HANDS ON A HARDBODY, the thrilling, powerfully emotional new musical featuring a country-rock-pop score by Trey Anastasio (frontman for the rock band Phish) and Amanda Green (High Fidelity, Bring It On), and a script by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Doug Wright.

The New Line cast includes 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). The show will be directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, with scenic design by Rob Lippert, lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl, and costume design by Sarah Porter and Marcy Wiegert.

This unique new musical is based on the acclaimed 1997 documentary of the same name, about an annual contest at a Texas truck dealership, where ten hard-luck Texans compete for a new hardbody truck. A new lease on life is so close each of them can touch it, and now for once, their fate is in their hands. Under a scorching sun, over the next 144 hours they will laugh, cry and push their bodies and minds to the limits, as they fight to keep at least one hand on a brand new truck. The contestant with the most nerve and endurance will drive away with the American Dream.

Featuring a catchy combination of blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and country songs, Hands on a Hardbody is a peek into the lives of everyday, ordinary Americans, struggling to survive against the backdrop of a broken and beaten American middle class and working class. The New York Times said, "The score ranges from gospel to blues to country to slightly rougher-edged rock. None of it sounds like traditional show music: think Mumford and Sons, not Rodgers and Hammerstein."

The New York Times also said, “You can hear the sound of America singing in Hands on a Hardbody, the daring new musical. . . With a bravado to match the gumption of its characters, this new show drives onto the Broadway lot without the high-gloss blandishments that adorn most big musicals. Instead it concentrates its energies on giving voice to a story of average people fighting to hold onto hope in the face of fierce economic headwinds and bad breaks, not to mention buckling knees.” The Times went on, “This scrappy, sincere new musical brings a fresh, handmade feeling to Broadway, which mostly traffics in the machine tooled. Burrowing into the troubled hearts of its characters, it draws a clear-eyed portrait of an America that's a far cry from the fantasyland of most commercial musicals.” The Wall Street Journal called the show "completely, satisfyingly right!" New York Magazine said, "Hands down, it's musical theatre heaven!"

the original Broadway production

 

 

  Want to explore more? We recommend:

The original cast album of the show

The original 1997 documentary, Hands on a Hard Body

The official website for the Broadway production

The official Hands on a Hardbody YouTube channel

The official websites for Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio

The official website for the documentary

A YouTube video of "Holy Laughter," which the character Norma experiences in Hardbody

Some interesting books on the economics of the period in which the Hardbody documentary is set, including America: What Went Wrong?; The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath; and Boiling Point: Democrats, Republicans, and the Decline of Middle-Class Prosperity

        

HANDS ON A HARDBODY runs May 29-June 21, 2014, Thurs. through Sat. evenings, all at 8:00 p.m., at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (formerly CBC High School), 6501 Clayton Road, just east of Big Bend. May 29 is a preview. Click here for directions.

Tickets are on sale now through Metrotix outlets, including the Fox Theatre box office. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors on Thursdays; and $20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays. To charge tickets by phone, call Metrotix at 314-534-1111 or visit the Fox Theatre box office or the Metrotix website.

HIGH SCHOOL DISCOUNT: Any high school student with a valid school ID can get a $10 ticket for any performance all season long, with the code word for each show, which will posted only on New Line's Facebook page. This offer is available only at the door.

EDUCATORS DISCOUNT: New Line offers all currently employed educators half price tickets on any Thursday night, with work ID or other proof of employment. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

MILITARY DISCOUNT: New Line offers all active duty military personnel half price tickets on any Thursday night, with ID or other proof of active duty status. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

This show contains adult content. All programs subject to change. New Line Theatre receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission, the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, and the Missouri Arts Council.