The musical about an endurance contest to win a hardbody truck is written by librettist Doug Wright (a Pulitzer Prize winner for I Am My Own Wife), composer-lyricist Amanda Green (High Fidelity) and composer Trey Anastasio of the band Phish.
Neil Pepe (Speed-the-Plow) directs, and Benjamin Millipied ("Black Swan") choreographs.
Hands on a Hardbody, according to La Jolla Playhouse in California, "is a musical based on the documentary film of the same name, about a truck competition in rural East Texas. In the contest, hardscrabble contestants are invited to a local car dealership, to place their hands on a new Nissan truck. The contestant who can stand the longest without removing his or her hand from the vehicle gets to drive it off the lot. What initially seems like a mere publicity stunt soon becomes a bare-knuckle, soul-baring test of wills."
The cast for the reading includes Nick Blaemire as Greg Wilhote, Keith Carradine as JD Drew, Alison Case as Kelli Mangrum, Jarrod Emick as Mike Ferris, Manuel Herrera as Jesus Pena, Leah Hocking as Virginia Drew, James Iglehart as Ronald McCowan, Brian D'Arcy James as Benny Perkins, David Larsen as Chris Alvaro, Connie Ray as Cindy Barnes, Kate Rockwell as Heather Stovall, Keala Settle as Norma Valverde, Dale Soules as Janis Curtis, Scott Wakefield as Frank Nugent and William Youmans as Don Curtis/Dr. Stokes.
A full production of the show may be in LJP's future, but that has not yet been announced. LJP's 2011-12 season is highlighted by three world premieres, including A Dram of Drummhicit, a new play by Arthur Kopit and Anton Dudley, directed by Playhouse artistic director and Tony Award nominee Christopher Ashley; Milk Like Sugar, a co-commissioned work by Kirsten Greenidge, directed by Rebecca Taichman; and the new musical Finding Neverland, based on the Academy Award-nominated film, with book by Allan Knee, music by Scott Frankel, lyrics by Michael Korie and directed by Tony Award winner Rob Ashford. More information on the Playhouse's 2011-12 season can be found at www.LaJollaPlayhouse.org.