Hands On a Hardbody Will Be Molded in Fall "Lab" Prior to Spring 2013 Broadway Ignition

By Kenneth Jones
15 Aug 2012

David Larsen in Hands On a Hardbody at La Jolla Playhouse.
David Larsen in Hands On a Hardbody at La Jolla Playhouse.
Photo by Kevin Berne

The new Broadway-bound musical Hands on a Hardbody will have a fall "developmental lab" in New York City prior to a Broadway launch in early 2013. The Oct. 1-13 lab is expected to address changes to the show since its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse this spring.

No casting, theatre or dates for the Broadway run have been announced. Most of the roles have been cast.

The musical, with a folk-pop flavor, is based on the documentary film of the same name, about an endurance test — and the grand prize of a pickup truck — in small-town Texas. It has a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Creditors), lyrics by Amanda Green (High Fidelity, Bring It On: The Musical) and music by Trey Anastasio (lead singer of the band Phish) and Green.

First rehearsal for Broadway begins "on/about" January 2013, according to the Equity casting notice.



The show is produced by Broadway Across America (John Gore, Thomas B. McGrath, Beth Williams), Rich Entertainment Group (Bob and Mindy Rich), Barbara Whitman, Latitude Link, Dede Harris, Sharon Karmazin, and Howard and Janet Kagan.

Jim Newman and Tony nominees Keith Carradine, Hunter Foster and Mary Gordon Murray starred in the recent La Jolla run.

Neil Pepe (Speed-the-Plow, A Behanding in Spokane) directs the reality-inspired musical about an auto dealership that launches an endurance contest in which ten economically strapped strangers embark on a journey "that puts their hearts, minds and bodies to the test," as LJP notes put it. Musical staging is by Benjamin Millepied ("Black Swan"). Carmel Dean is the music supervisor.

Here's how the Broadway producers characterize it: "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 Playhouse commissioned Hands On a Hardbody and further developed it through a series of readings and workshops, "as part of the institution's mission to serve as a safe harbor for artists and a launching pad for new work."