HANDS ON A HARDBODY Opens at La Jolla Playhouse Today, 5/12
La Jolla Playhouse's world premiere of Hands on a Hardbody, starring Tony Award-nominees Keith Carradine, Hunter Foster and Mary GorDon Murray, as well as Allison Case and more, opens tonight, May 12, and runs through June 17, 2012 in the Mandell Weiss Theatre. The commissioned musical has a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Creditors), lyrics by Amanda Green (High Fidelity), music by Trey Anastasio (lead singer of the popular band Phish) and Amanda Green, with direction by Neil Pepe (Speed-the-Plow) and musical staging by Benjamin Millepied (BLACK SWAN).
Based on the documentary film of the same name, Hands on a Hardbody features a brilliant rock, folk and country score from Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio, along with a masterful story by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright. The creative team features music director Zachary Dietz (In the Heights), Christine Jones (Spring Awakening), Susan Hilferty (Wicked), Kevin Adams (American Idiot), sound designer Steve Canyon Kennedy (Jersey Boys), and Playhouse Resident Dramaturg Shirley Fishman.
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.
The cast features Tony Award nominee Keith Carradine (Nashville, Broadway's The Will Rogers Follies) as "JD Drew," Allison Case (Hair revival on Broadway) as "Kelli Mangrum," Tony Award winner Jarrod Emick (Broadway's Ring of Fire) as "Mike Ferris," Hunter Foster (Playhouse's Little Miss Sunshine; Broadway's Urinetown) as "Benny Perkins," Jay Armstrong Johnson (Broadway's Catch Me If You Can) as "Greg Wilhote," David Larsen (Broadway's Good Vibrations) as "Chris Alvaro," Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone (Legally Blonde national tour) as "Heather Stovall," Mary GorDon Murray (Broadway's Little Me) as "Virginia Drew," Connie Ray (author/performer, Smoke on the Mountain, Broadway's Next Fall) as "Cindy Barnes," Jon Rua (Broadway's In the Heights) as "Jesus Pea," Keala Settle (Broadway's Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) as "Norma Valverde," Dale Soules (Grey Gardens) as "Janis Curtis," Jacob Ming Trent (Lincoln Center Theatre's On the Levee) as "Ronald McGowan," Scott Wakefield (Broadway's It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues) as "Frank Nugent" and William Youmans (Playhouse's Dracula, Twelfth Night) as "Don Curtis/Dr. Stokes."
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.
For more information, visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
Photo Credit: Kevin Berne