Regional Premiere of Texas-Set Musical Hands on a Hardbody Begins May 29
By Andrew Gans
New Line Theatre, which is located in St. Louis, MO, presents the regional premiere of Hands on a Hardbody May 29-June 21. Opening is scheduled for May 30.
Artistic director Scott Miller, who co-directs with Mike Dowdy, said in an earlier statement, “I fell in love with this score the first time I heard it – pop, rock, R&B, gospel, Latin, you name it. This is a show with brains, a big heart, and all the heat of the Texas sun. You just can’t help but get emotionally caught up in these decent, ordinary people who just need this one break. But it’s also a story about America and Americans, about tough people surviving tough times. And though it’s set in 1997, it’s really about right here, right now.”
The cast comprises Todd Schaefer (as 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), Luke Steingruby (Chris Alvaro) and Marcy Wiegert (Kelli Mangrum).
The rock musical, inspired by true events, features music and lyrics by Amanda Green, music by Trey Anastasio and a script by Doug Wright, adapted from the 1997 documentary of the same name.
"Set at a Texas truck dealership that holds an endurance contest every year to win a hardbody pickup truck, a new lease on life feels so close for these ten hard-luck Texans that they can touch it," according to press notes. "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 this funny, intense, emotional, and revealing battle of pure stamina, only one winner will drive away with the American Dream."
The production also has scenic design by Rob Lippert, lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl, costume design by Sarah Porter and Marcy Wiegert and sound design by Kerrie Mondy.
Hands on a Hardbody plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (formerly CBC High School), 6501 Clayton Road, just east of Big Bend.
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