Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati to Open 29th Season with HANDS ON A HARDBODY, 9/2-21

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati opens its 29th season with the regional premiere of Hands on a Hardbody, the thrilling, powerfully emotional new musical featuring a country-rock-pop score by Trey Anastasio (frontman for the rock band Phish) and Amanda Green (High Fidelity, Bring It On), and a script by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Doug Wright (Grey Gardens, I Am My Own Wife). The show, which features a full-size Nissan hardbody truck on stage alongside its cast of 15, plays September 2-21, 2014 and is directed by D. Lynn Meyers.

The story, inspired by the acclaimed 1997 cult-hit documentary of the same name, depicts the real-life gritty struggles of ten contestants at a Longview, Texas Nissan dealership as they laugh, cry, and stand for days under the grueling sun touching the truck -- and they stand there...and stand there...until one by one, people get tired and drop away, and one person is left standing. That person gets to keep the truck. An endurance/sleep deprivation contest, this new musical is a peek into the lives of everyday, ordinary Americans, struggling to survive against the backdrop of a broken and beaten working middle class.

Featuring a catchy combination of rhythm and blues, rockabilly, gospel, rock and roll, and country songs, one by one the quirky characters share what winning would mean to them. There's J.D., who lost his oil-rig job and just got out of the hospital, and Jesus, whose only hope for veterinary school is to win and resell the truck. Also vying for the American Dream are an Iraq war veteran, an ex-cheerleader, a crafty previous winner full of advice for his rivals, a run-down mother of six, and a desperate chocolate bar addict.

Cast includes several regular Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati performers, including: Michael G. Bath (Frank Nugent), Michael Gerard Carr (Greg Wilhote), Charlie Clark (Benny Perkins), Denise Devlin (Heather Stovall), Annie Fitzpatrick (Cindy Barnes), Deb G. Girdler (Janis Curtis), Sara Mackie (Norma Valverde), Brooke Steele (Kelli Mangrum), and Kate Wilford (Virginia Drew).

Additionally, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati welcomes the following performers in their debuts at Ensemble: Geoffrey Warren Barnes II (Ronald McCowan), Jordan De Leon (Jesus Peña), Phil Fiorini (JD Drew), Michael Flannery (Don Curtis/Dr. Stokes), Dallas Padoven (Chris Alvaro), and Michael Shawn Starks (Mike Ferris).

Production team includes Brian c. Mehring (Resident Scenic & Lighting Designer), Matthew Hollstegge (Technical Director, Production Coordinator & Master Electrician), Shannon Rae Lutz (Properties Master & Design Assistant), Jeremy Lee (Sound Designer), Patti James (Choreographer), Scot Woolley (Musical Director), and Reba Senske (Costume Designer). Production Stage Manager is Brandon T. Holmes.

Performances run Tuesday through Sunday. Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday, 8:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 2:00 pm; and Sunday, 7:00 pm. A complete calendar of performances is available online at www.ensemblecincinnati.org.

Ticket prices range from $28 to $44 for adults; student tickets are $25; and children are $18. For the 2014-2015 season, ETC continues its popular $15 student and half-price rush tickets for all performances, which are available two hours prior to show time and may be purchased by phone or in person at the box office. Available Discounts - Military, Educator, Public Radio Perks Card, ArtsWave FunCard, AAA, Senior, and Enjoy the Arts discounts available; tickets and seating are subject to availability.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is a professional theatre dedicated to producing world and regional premieres of works that often explore compelling social issues. We fulfill our mission through our stage productions and educational outreach programs that enlighten, enliven, enrich and inspire our audiences.

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