Hands on a Hardbody previews thread

AntV
Featured Actor
joined:12/23/12
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 12:32am

Previews start today, here's a curtain picture from yesterday's dress.

chrisampm2
Leading Actor
joined:5/26/07
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 03:10am
This is a show to see from the front mezz.
brotherhoodofman
Chorus Member
joined:1/4/12
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 09:19am
I have what I'm assuming are mezz tickets for tonight (got them through my TDF membership). Can't wait to see it and hear what others think!
Sinfonian4life
Understudy
joined:6/27/08
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 05:25pm
Excited to see the first preview! My first, first preview! Lol
uncageg
Broadway Legend
joined:5/13/04
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 06:23pm
Went to the sneak peek at Hard Rock and liked what I heard. I see the show this Thursday.
Just give the world Love.
brotherhoodofman
Chorus Member
joined:1/4/12
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 09:25pm
At intermission now. "Joy of the Lord" is easily one of the most exciting numbers I've ever seen. That alone is worth the price of admission!
Sinfonian4life
Understudy
joined:6/27/08
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 09:33pm
Agree about "Joy" loving it! Really liked "Strong" too! Two people from the Creative team are behind me and they are happy with how it is going!
Sinfonian4life
Understudy
joined:6/27/08
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 10:49pm
Ok. Wow! I am not good with reviewing,but let me just say I had a wonderful evening! Great shape for first.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 11:25pm
I caught the first preview tonight and I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy it very, very much.

I went into the performance with a bit of hesitancy because of the subject material. The premise creates some obvious challenges for the creative team to make the show engaging and visually interesting enough when all you have to work with is a group of people who can’t remove their hands from a truck.

Also I had fears about the realistic qualities of the documentary transferring to the stage with professional actors. To paraphrase Abed, this is based on a documentary, which is like a real movie, but with ugly people. You wouldn’t want an adaptation to turn into a Christopher Guest film. The “characters” in the film are as real as you can get; how would the material be altered when the real people are swapped out for the likes of Jay Armstrong Johnson and Allison Case? Something too slick and polished would be detrimental for this material

Luckily the creative team made some wise decisions. First of all this is not a movie musical, in that they did not musicalize the documentary. This is not the group of people who competed for the truck in 1995. The competition takes place in present day and the contest is a fully-realized dramatization. It's similar to what they did with the recent Kon Tiki film. That wasn't a frame for frame remake of the documentary (what's the point?), but rather a heightened, fictionalized account of what actually transpired.

One big mistake the producers are making is not advertising the presence of Trey Anastasio on the composing team. There is a definite Phish sound to the score, and I really dug it. Not since Passing Strange have I felt such a freedom in the musicality of a score on Broadway. I was humming the final song all the way down 9th Avenue, and I can't wait to get the cast recording. Amanda Green's lyrics are appropriate, never too clever for her characters, and she must really have an affinity for Schwinn bikes because she mentions them in both the High Fidelity score and in Hardbody.

The structure of the show oddly reminded me of A Chorus Line. There's no plot to speak of- just 10 people standing by a truck (their line so to speak) and taking turns telling the audience their stories and why they should win the truck. They all "hope they get it" and we start hoping some of them win the prize over others in turn. One by one they drop until the last person is standing.

The cast is uniformly strong, and the pretty people ended up not bothering me at all, ha. This is probably Hunter Foster's best role since Urinetown. He's terrific and has a great second act number called, "God Answered My Prayers." He's sort of the Sheila of the group.

As others have mentioned Keala Settle has a showstopper in act one called, "Joy of the Lord." It is an acapella gospel number, only accompanied by Stomp-like pounding on the truck by the other contestants. As the title implies it simply joyous and the staging is inspired. I loved it and didn't want it to end.

Allison Case and Jay Armstrong Johnson had a beautiful duet in act one and developed a sweet friendship as the play moved on. Keith Carradine needed his mic turned up a bit, but he is always a welcome presence on stage. Really the whole cast did nice work.

I really didn't think this was a great idea for a musical, but the creative team proved this skeptic wrong and made me a believer. I'm excited to see this again, which will be very soon.

Another thing though- for a musical about people who have to stand up for 90 hours, why is there no fun gimmick for a standing room policy?! It would be a fun way to build a cult following for the show, and would totally be in the spirit of the story.





Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Updated On: 2/23/13 at 11:25 PM
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 11:27pm
The Phish influence is one of the most compelling ingredients here. Didn't know that. Now, I'm intrigued.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
King of the City
Chorus Member
joined:2/21/13
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 11:32pm
Now I think I will be rushing this for sure next weekend. Glad to read these great reports as I have been looking forward to this since the transfer.
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 11:37pm
Is that the set for the whole show? I'm not really sure what I'm looking at besides the truck being covered up? Seems like a great show for being in the round. Shame they didn't go that route.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/23/13 at 11:45pm
It could have played in the round, but they use the space well. The truck spins around and moves all over the stage, sometimes quite rapidly. The choreography around the truck is often very fun and clever.

One thing that needs some work is making sure the energy doesn't start to lag in act two. I understand the dilemma: these characters have been standing for 80 some odd hours. They wouldn't have the energy to do much of anything so naturally the score becomes more ballad heavy and some of the book scenes were slightly lethargic. I don't think it was a first preview pacing issue either; these people are sleep-deprived zombies. It would be laughable if they were bouncing off the walls, but they need to walk a fine line of making us understand their state of mind and actually being boring.

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Updated On: 2/23/13 at 11:45 PM
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 12:02am
Wow
it takes a little while to kick in but wow what a great night, give Keala Settle the tony now phenomenal performance from her, I really think that this is one of those shows you will get maximum enjoyment out of if you go in not knowing ANYTHING, so much fun to hear people gasp and cry out when people took their hands off the car, if it wasn't for Matilda I'd say id be a pretty solid pick for best musical this year.
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 12:02am
Right. But isn't the show about them cutting away and whatnot? So why not cutaway to some upbeat song, etc.

Also, I'm not usually a fan of a show being 90mins, but doesn't this show kind of scream "no intermission?"
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 12:12am
PlayItAgain- Good as Settle is, Andrea Martin has the Featured Actress Tony all tied up in a pretty little bow. Given the competition thus far for Best Musical though, Hands on a Hardbody will have a surefire spot for a nomination, along with Best Score and Book.

RippedMan- Like ACL this does seem like a "no intermission" type of show, but it ran 2 hours and 40 minutes tonight, and that's way too long to go without an intermission. The contestants get a 15 minute break every 6 hours, so it's easy to work in one of their breaks as the intermission.

Some of the songs allow them to break away from the truck and sing inside their heads, but most of the numbers and all of the book scenes are them holding on to the truck. The truck moves around the stage, but they rarely get to let go.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 12:20am
Thanks for the reviews! Now I'm looking forward to seeing this on Tuesday!
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 12:25am
@whizzer dying to see Pippin , and yes I've heard Andrea is Phenomenal, but man is Keala going to give her a run for her money.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 12:59am
It's a respectable effort, earnest and sincere, well performed, certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

Yet I can't say I was much taken with it. The problem lies with the premise itself, static and undramatic. What could be more boring or trying than spending an evening watching people holding on to a truck, other than perhaps, trying oneself to hold on to a truck. Try though it may to liven things up, the show can't overcome this basic problem.

Add to that an uninteresting country score, clichéd, routine characters and situations, and an ugly, never-changing set, and ennui sets in early on.

I thought there were two good songs, both sung by Keith Carradine. The first was an elegiac ballad, "Used to Be'" which called to mind the similarly-themed song sung by Carradine in Will Rogers Follies, "Look Around." The second was the final song.

It's always a pleasure to hear Keith Carradine sing. I'd love to hear him sing "I'm Easy" again.
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 01:17am
well that was fun while it lasted, count on AFTER EIGHT to bring the wet blanket to the party.
broadwaydevil
Broadway Legend
joined:2/16/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 01:35am
That was basically a rave from After Eight. Regardless, thanks again for you phenomenal reviews, Whizzer. Funny how your reviews can get me excited about shows I otherwise had no interest in like this one.
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.
brotherhoodofman
Chorus Member
joined:1/4/12
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 01:49am
I felt like the car was almost another character, in part because of the movement of the car. It made the characters question themselves and the more time they spent with it, the more it changed them.

Oh, and I need to see "Joy of the Lord" again soon. Like immediately.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 01:53am
I was going to say the same, broadwaydevil: those were pretty kind words from After Eight.

I will say that I wouldn't describe the music as a "country" score. Sure there is a country flavor to some of the orchestrations, but it's not really twangy or anything. Just like Phish is a mash-up of so many genres, so is the score to Hardbody. There are elements of rock, funk, soul, gospel, country and folk in both the melodies and orchestrations.

Trust me I didn't have much interest or hope for this show either, and as I texted my friends walking out of theater that I thought it was great they were all like, "Really? Cool, well I'm looking forward to next week then!"

The problem is relating the actuality of the strong show that is hiding behind the deceptively boring premise. Tell most people that they are going to see a show about 10 Texans touching a truck and singing about touching a truck and talking about touching a truck for 2 hours and 40 minutes and you'll have them running for the hills! The best way to sell the show will probably be on the strength of the score (and performances).

Maybe it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I hope it finds an audience and has a chance to run. It's not a perfect show, but there's much to admire and enjoy.

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Updated On: 2/24/13 at 01:53 AM
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 02:03am
@brotherhood

Awesome how the actors move the car themselves, except for right at the top tonight where it ran into one of the sign post things and all the lights shook around lol
KylePKJP
Stand-by
joined:8/5/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 02:38am
Let me first say that I know and respect that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I am always amazed at how the same people on this board log on just to back-hand some lame-a$$ compliment like "a respectible effort" shrouded in ridicules, self-important perceptions and claims that it "has a boring premise."

A good creative team came together, adapted and brought a show about characters waging their future and pinning dreams on winning a truck. That's a powerful story. If all you got from it was the premise, you have zero skill at reviewing a show and taking in it's story.

I saw this at La Jolla and the characters motivations for taking part in the contest and their willl to keep their eye and "hands on" the prize was enthralling and profound. Much more so than I found the stories in Rent and the adaptation of Spring Awakening.

I don't know what the hell show you saw, but it sounds like you need to stop seeing shows all together because you're never going to be satisfied with anything you see. Ease off your need to pi$$ on a show because you fancy yourself a critic when rather it sounds like you're just being a plain old nasty b!tch.
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Hands on a Hardbody previews thread
Posted: 2/24/13 at 02:53am
ok lets not get ahead of ourselves, RENT won a pultizer. HOAHB is good but not like Pulitzer winning good.

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