New Musical Hands On A Hardbody Will Roll Into La Jolla Playhouse in 2012

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and Kenneth Jones
14 Oct 2011

Doug Wright
Doug Wright
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Hands on a Hardbody, the new musical by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright, Amanda Green and Phish band member Trey Anastasio, will have its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse beginning April 27, 2012.

La Jolla Playhouse commissioned the musical based on the 1997 documentary film of the same title about a small-town endurance contest to win a hardbody truck. The musical received a private New York City reading in April.

Neil Pepe (Speed-the-Plow) and Benjamin Millipied ("Black Swan"), who directed and choreographed the readings, respectively, will return for the La Jolla production that will run through June 10, 2012, in the Mandell Weiss Theatre.

Hands on a Hardbody has a book by Wright (I Am My Own Wife), with a score by composer-lyricist Green (High Fidelity, Bring It On) and Grammy-nominated composer Anastasio.

According to La Jolla, "When an auto dealership in Longview, TX launches an endurance contest, ten economically-strapped strangers embark on a journey that puts their hearts, minds and bodies to the test. The contestant who keeps at least one hand on a brand-new hardbody truck the longest gets to drive it off the lot. What initially seems like a mere publicity stunt soon becomes a soul-baring battle of wills. Only one can win, but for all involved, the truck holds the key to their own private American dream."



"We are ecstatic to launch our new season with a project we’ve shepherded through the commission, reading and workshop phases and now to a full production on our stage," La Jolla artistic director Christopher Ashley said in a statement. "This thrilling new piece offers a trenchant slice of Americana that explores the most exuberant and most troubling aspects of our competitive spirit."

Casting has not been announced for the La Jolla premiere. Among the actors involved in the New York readings were 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.

Visit www.lajollaplayhouse.org.