Hands on a Hardbody previews thread

leefowler
Broadway Star
joined:7/13/04
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 04:10pm
The rules are this: If you post something nice, you're a shill, and if you post something critical, you're Satan.
Behind the fake tinsel of Broadway is real tinsel.
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 04:23pm
Truth be told: you are only a shill if you join JUST because you needed to sing the praises of a brand new show.

If you have negative things to say, it means you are a hater of all things b'way.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Matt Rogers
Broadway Star
joined:10/4/04
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 04:28pm
Ah, thanks. Now I understand.
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 04:49pm
well, it's still early, but I'm going to say the Best New Musical Tony award will be between this & Matilda. Unless Kinky Boots or Motown shock the hell out of us, it's between these two shows only right now.
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
April Saul
Broadway Legend
joined:2/17/06
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 11:49pm
Awww...After Eight, I enjoy reading your posts as well! They're not completely contra-suggestive, but I think I generally like stuff more than you do...perhaps because I live so far from NYC that once I've made the trip, I have to try to put a good face on it! However, I am going to post something kind of negative about the new Annie Baker play on this board, can't sugarcoat that one. Be well
winston89
Broadway Legend
joined:6/18/06
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 08:45am
I agree with Whizzer when it was said that they should have used Trey more with the marketing. After all, he is the face of a very successful rock band with an almost cult following. And, there are a lot of people out there who follow the rock world but not the theatre world and no nothing of Trey's involvement with the show. But, since I am into theatre and the concert world, when I told my concert going friends about this show, and that Trey was involved, they wanted to get tickets right away. So yes, while other members of rock bands have written shows, or pop singers for that matter, I think that Hands on a Hardbody is different. After all, you have, as one of the songwriters, the face of a band with a cult following. Not the keyboardist as in the case with Memphis. The actual front man. After all, how many bands can sell out The Garden on a New Years run three years in a row or have a sold out festival of just their music? Seems pretty dumb to not take advantage of that on a marketing side of things.

I am very much looking forward to seeing this show. I heard Phish do Burn That Bridge, and I am excited to see this because of the music.
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll
Mercades
Leading Actor
joined:11/6/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 08:56am
Though phish has a huge cult following, they are hardly the type of people to go to a broadway show.

And knowing it was the writer from phish might have actually worked in a negative way for them, they aren't a well respected band. It's not like John Lennon came back from the dead and wrote a musical, it's phish.

Either way can't wait to see it!
brotherhoodofman
Chorus Member
joined:1/4/12
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 08:58am
I completely agree. I go to shows alone because my husband hates theater (the only thing he's ever seen with me was Avenue Q, because dirty puppets are funny). When I told him I was seeing Hands on a Hardbody Saturday night, he commented that it was a ridiculous name. When I told him Trey Anastasio wrote the music, he told me to buy him a ticket immediately. Marketing his involvement more would drive a lot of music fans to this show.
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 12:41pm
I think it's a mistake to assume that a show will sell significantly merely because one of the writers has a (non-theatre) following. American Idiot hyped the Green Day connection to the exclusion of anything else and it ran for only a year. Nine To Five, by the beloved Dolly Parton, couldn't tank fast enough (and you'd think hers would be the kind of fans with the cash and inclination to go to the theatre).

I guess Marketing Ploy can be a fun game, but it's usually the quality of a show that matters, not the pop star affiliated with it.
winston89
Broadway Legend
joined:6/18/06
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 02:46pm
Mercades,

I disagree, knowing that the writer from Phish worked on the show would only help. If you have even a mild interest in Phish, then knowing that Trey wrote the music would pique your interest even a little. If you don't know who they are/ don't like them, then it might not work for you. But, I feel that the number of people who it does work for is greater than the number of people who it won't work for.

Brotherhoodofman, you're right in saying that they need to market this show differently and use his name more with advertising. I have friends who are more of the concert going type than the theatre going type. As soon as I told them that Trey wrote a musical, their response was an enthusiastic one, and they would then ask me about it. They don't follow theatre news at all. But, I read the same music magazines/websites that they do as well. And, never has there been one mention of this show in a magazine or website that caters to these kinds of music fans.

Newintown, I do think that there is a big difference between Green Day and even Parton fans and Phish. Green Day fans are kids who are high school/college aged. While the show was marketed like hell on MTV, the issue was that their core fanbase were people who were too young to travel to New York on their own or flat out didn't have the money to accomplish such a trip. Most of the comments I have seen on Youtube videos relating to the show were by people who would say things like, I like Green Day, and the show looks amazing, and I'd give anything to be in New York to be able to see it.

Parton fans are considerably older than Green Day or even Phish fans. And, I have always gotten the impression that many of them don't live near New York. So, to see 9 to 5 as just a parton fan would require an expensive trip.

Phish/Trey fans are an interesting mixture of the two. Some of them are college aged, most are just out of school/working. They are a fanbase that is known for traveling around to see jambands (Trey's work both solo and with Phish is included in this) and would have no issue traveling en mass to where ever Trey or Phish is. The show being in New York is an added bonus since there are a lot of jamband type concerts that take place in New York all the time, to the point that it has become a kind of hub to these kinds of music fans.

I know that playing the marketing ploy game can be tricky. But, it is something that should at least be tried with Hands on a Hardbody. I think that it says something about Trey's marketing ability when he is able to sell out venues both with Phish and on his own based on zero advertising and word of mouth only. I also think that the fact that they allow fans to audio record Phish concerts for online circulation (provided that the person doing the recording is recording and sharing for the love of the music and not to make a profit) also has helped launch Trey to fringe cult status that, like I said, the producers would be stupid to not at least try. What's the worst that can happen?
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll
wickedfan11
Broadway Star
joined:6/17/06
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 03:54pm
Could someone post a list of the musical numbers please?
theatergeek3
Stand-by
joined:2/9/13
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 05:57pm
@Wickedfan11-Here are the musical numbers:
Act One
It's a Human Drama Thing
Alone with Me
Master Benny's Winning Strategies
A Little Somethin' Somethin'
If I Had a Truck
My Problem Right There
Burn That Bridge
I'm Gone
Joy of the Lord
Stronger
Hunt with the Big Dogs
Act Two
Hands On a Hardbody
Born in Laredo
It's a Fix
Used to Be
God Answered My Prayers
The Tryers
Joy of the Lord (Reprise)
Keep Your Hands On It
Hope this helps!
wickedfan11
Broadway Star
joined:6/17/06
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 06:40pm
Thanks! I'd love to know which characters sing them, too, if it's not too much trouble.
theatergeek3
Stand-by
joined:2/9/13
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 07:25pm
Of course!
Act One
It's a Human Drama Thing-Company led by Mike
Alone with Me-Virginia
Master Benny's Winning Strategies (I made a mistake-this song was actually cut & replaced by "Brothers in the Storm" which is sung by JD & Benny)
A Little Somethin' Somethin'-Don & Janis
If I Had a Truck-Heather
My Problem Right There-Ronald
Burn That Bridge-Mike & Heather
I'm Gone-Greg & Kelli
Joy of the Lord-Company led by Norma
Stronger-Company led by Chris
Hunt with the Big Dogs-Benny
Act Two
Hands On a Hardbody-Frank
Born in Laredo-Jesus
It's a Fix-Janis
Used to Be-Company
God Answered My Prayers-Benny
The Tryers-Benny & JD
Joy of the Lord (Reprise)-Norma
Keep Your Hands On It-Company
Other than the "Brothers in the Storm" mistake, I also forgot to include "It's A Fix (Reprise" which is sung by Heather & comes after "Used to Be". I also put the songs in the wrong order. I made the mistake of looking online instead of at my Playbill. If you want I can post again with the right order (it's still wrong on here 'cause I copied & pasted)


Updated On: 2/25/13 at 07:25 PM
uncageg
Broadway Legend
joined:5/13/04
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 09:44pm
I know some Phish fans and they are loyal. 2 of my best friends are and went nuts when I told them about the show and almost died when I told them Trey was at the sneak peek I attended. I think putting his name out there will help and the subject matter, in my opinion, would not be a turn-off to his fans. JMO
Just give the world Love.
LimelightMike
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 09:55pm
Where's the orchestra, in the pit?
Any idea what the front row is like?
Is the stage high?
LimelightMike's 2010-2011 Theatergoing Schedule: THE PITMEN PAINTERS (10.03.10) A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (10.10.10) BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON (10.16.10) THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS (11.06.10) WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (11.13.10) BRIEF ENCOUNTER (11.22.10) THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW (11.28.10) LA BETE (12.23.10) A SMALL FIRE (01.13.11) THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON (03.09.11) ARCADIA (03.16.11) BLACK TIE (03.19.11) PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT (03.21.11) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (03.26.11) BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO (03.30.11) GHETTO KLOWN (03.31.11) HOW TO SUCCEED... (04.07.11) ANYTHING GOES (04.12.11) JERUSALEM (04.20.11) SISTER ACT (04.29.11) iHO: (05.22.11)
jbm2
Broadway Star
joined:3/26/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 10:27pm
What is the running time?
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 11:11pm
I went back again tonight and liked it all over again. After only one performance the second act felt so much tighter and energized. There are still a few balance issues with sound, but Keith was easier to hear this evening.

The score is lodged more firmly in my ear and I'm humming the tunes as I type. The show is not perfect, but for me it is oh so easy to love.

BTW the audience was full of Broadway actors; I think the entire cast of Kinky Boots was in attendance.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
broadwaydevil
Broadway Legend
joined:2/16/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 11:37pm
BTW the audience was full of Broadway actors; I think the entire cast of Kinky Boots was in attendance.

Presumably all comped. Not exactly a good sign, though obviously it's still so early.
Scratch and claw for every day you're worth! Make them drag you screaming from life, keep dreaming You'll live forever here on earth.
RaisedOnMusicals
Broadway Star
joined:7/20/10
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 11:43pm
Tighter? The show tonight ran 2:50. They need to take a chain saw to this, not a scalpel. There is good potential here, but neither act should run more than one hour tops.
<--------Curtain call, opening night of A Little Night Music, Dec. 13, 2009
broadfan327
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/08
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 11:44pm
I saw the second preview tonight and while I didn't hate it, I didn't love it. Here are some of my rambling thoughts. It drags, especially in the second act. They should cut ten or fifteen minutes. I was sitting in the mezzanine and the sound was a little off, I am sure it will get fixed. The score is pretty good, much better than other scores I have heard from last year.

The main problem is with the book. I didn't care a whiff about any of the characters. I wasn't emotionally invested into any of them. I couldn't care less who won the truck. The performances were very good. The actors are limited to what they can do because they are holding onto the truck. I think they should let go more of the truck during their solo numbers.
jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/25/13 at 11:46pm
Worth noting that, like Putnam County Spelling Bee (I would guess) the playbill does not list who sings what song, so as to avoid spoiling the results of the contest.

Saw it tonight, certainly haven't seen anything like it in a long time, if ever. It has wonderful little moments of comic absurdity (the contest, after all, is innately funny when they come to a sudden halt after a musical number and everything, again, is static and silent). The book is actually pretty brave for the way it handles the mind-numbing boredom of the contest; never experienced as many (or as justified, mind you) moments of "dead air" in a musical before. Quite a unique effect, to me at least, and a lot of fun to explore.

The creatives did a pretty great job keeping the show moving, amazingly, even within the confines of the story. The disbelief-suspending choreographic breaks from the contest all worked fluently for me (though the dances that didn't break the convention and were done with keeping everyone on the truck, especially "Joy of the Lord", were the most entertaining to watch.) Though it started off sweet but slight, I wasn't emotionally invested until the stretch at the end of Act I. From "I'm Gone" (a tremendously yearning, hopeful ballad/duet) through "Joy of the Lord" (if they are willing to go with it and its a capella/gospel/hysteria nuttiness, it'll be a truly memorable song to excerpt for the Tony's) to "Stronger" (a rich, deeply-felt ballad for the guilty-survivor Marine Vet, and the song stuck in my head tonight as I write this), there was about 20 minutes of Broadway magic to rival any other traditional musical.

The rest of the show doesn't equal that stretch, in my opinion, but it happily coasts on the momentum of it and doesn't do anything to squander it. By the end, I found the eventualy winnowing of contestants to be a pretty effectively-done series of little dramatic moments. Each hand that came off the truck elicited its own particular response (some more than others, but some contestants' stories come to more dramatic conclusions than others.) I'd give a solid B grade overall, with some Mileage May Vary of course, but it's well worth going if you're curious. There ain't nothing like it in town, that's for sure.

Words don’t deserve that kind of malarkey. They’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good anymore…I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
Updated On: 2/25/13 at 11:46 PM
Up In One
Stand-by
joined:5/27/04
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/26/13 at 01:44am
Saw the Monday night preview and found myself crawling out of my skin for the first 30 minutes until the songs "I'm Gone" & "Joy of the Lord". Even then it only got interesting because the songs, performance and staging came together for something entertaining, not because the musical took flight.

The biggest disappointment for me was the book. Doug Wright of "I Am My own Wife", "Quills" and to a lesser extent "Grey Gardens" and an even lesser extent " The Little Mermaid" has written a book whose major story-line is the incompetent (read ridiculously unbelievable)management of a car dealership. I could have done without those two characters all together. In its place the show could have traveled further down the stylized staging route it teases with. There are way too many contestants vying for book time to develop anything beyond a passing interest in their stories - while we waste precious minutes on the salesman's wife's kitchen marble choices. All of the book scenes are squandered as bridges to the songs which are essentially pop songs (country western?) with a bit of a social conscious.

While Trey can write a tune the show needed a music & lyrics dramaturg to grow the songs into something more interesting dramatically. They are all essentially cabaret or pop songs in format. The staging is so static it reinforces the idea that we are watching a five day marathon, that might never end. You don't have to check your program for the musical numbers to figure out when it will end. You just watch each contestant loose until there was none. Nothing on stage changes except for the car which gets pushed around the stage so much one starts to grow concerned for the actors safety. It takes on a bit of a cirque du soleil thrill ride during "Hunt with the Big Dogs".

A big thrill of the evening was realizing who cast member Dale Souls was. Her renditions of "Lion Tamer" and "West End Avenue" were the highlight of Stephen Schwartz "The Magic Show". She puts in a solid performance here. We will probably be remembering Keala Settle's performance in this show 38 years from now the same way I remember Dale Souls' in "The Magic Show". A great performance which could have been amazing if the material were better.

It looks like the best supporting actress race is going to a tuff one with Keala, Andrea Martin in Pippin and Annaleigh Ashford in Kinky Boots - I saw Boots in Chicago and Annaleigh is phenomenal, she also has the best material of the the three women I just mentioned. After tonight's performance and having seen Kinky and listened to Matilda's CD I think Cyndy Lauper should start writing her acceptance speeches for best score.

The audience reception was friendly but quiet most of the night with sections of the audience reacting to some of the obvious politics in the piece. The numbers I mentioned plus the first and second act closers received very enthusiastic responses. We lost a few people in my section of the mezz at the intermission. Show clocked in at 2 hours and 45 minutes with intermission. Way too long for what it is. The second act opener could be done away with and something needs to be done to the first half hour - crickets could be heard. The soldiers return in Act II which inspires a second number in a row for Hunter Foster seems unnecessary and too rushed from a development perspective. I think this show would have played better at New World Stages. It did not hit me as a Broadway show. Better yet Branson Mo. I think Neil Pepe might not have had enough musical experience to helm this.
broadfan327
Featured Actor
joined:3/20/08
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/26/13 at 08:33am
Up In One stated it much better than I did. I agree with his/her assessment.
brotherhoodofman
Chorus Member
joined:1/4/12
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/26/13 at 08:43am
When I saw the show Saturday night, it was about 2 hours 35 minutes. The show started about five minutes late, and intermission was 25 minutes.

There is room for cutting, as others have stated. If I were to trim characters (because there are too many on the truck to get to know), I'd cut the love story ones. That story didn't gel to me because there simply wasn't time to get to know them. They flirted, then were madly devoted to each other 15 minutes later. I felt like that was a plot line that could be dropped to allow more time to other characters' development.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/26/13 at 10:50am
"The disbelief-suspending choreographic breaks from the contest all worked fluently for me"


Not for me. In fact, they not only failed to suspend disbelief, they engendered it. The problem with a show like this that has no chorus is that the characters have to double as one. In this case, they are all so specifically defined that it jars to see them engaging in songs in which they should never be singing, even if they're supposed to be out of character. Consciously or unconsciously, these incongruities take you out of the moment, to the detriment of the song and show. It seems ludicrous to see the "bad guy" engaged in a joyous gospel number, or
people very happy with Starbucks and Walmarts singing a song lamenting the existence of such enterprises.

As for the songs that seem to appeal to many here, I found them all fairly flat beer, strictly paint by numbers fare, musically undistinguished and uninteresting. The gospel number, whether acapella or not, is the same sort of thing that we've seen trotted out countless times to try and rouse a somolent audience.

Updated On: 2/26/13 at 10:50 AM