New Line Theatre Presents HANDS ON A HARDBODY, Now thru 6/21

New Line Theatre Presents HANDS ON A HARDBODY, Now thru 6/21

New Line Theatre, "the bad boy of musical theatre, " closes its 23rd season of adult, alternative musical theatre with the American regional premiere, straight from Broadway, of the country-rock musical HANDS ON A HARDBODY, running tonight, May 29-June 21 (May 29 is a preview). New Line is the first company in the country to produce this show since its Broadway run last season.

New Line's season closes with this exciting new rock musical, inspired by true events, with music and lyrics by Amanda Green (High Fidelity, Bring It On), music by Trey Anastasio (frontman for the rock band Phish), and a script by Doug Wright (Pulitzer Prize winner, I Am My Own Wife). This unique new musical is based on the acclaimed 1997 documentary of the same name, about an annual contest at a Texas truck dealership, where ten hard-luck Texans compete for a new hardbody truck. A new lease on life is so close each of them can touch it, and now for once, their fate is in their hands. Under a scorching sun, over 144 hours, they will laugh, cry and push their bodies and minds to the limits, as they fight to keep at least one hand on a brand new truck. The contestant with the most nerve and endurance will drive away with the American Dream.

HANDS ON A HARDBODY is a peek into the lives of everyday, ordinary Americans, struggling to survive against the backdrop of a broken and beaten American middle class and working class. The New York Times said, "The score ranges from gospel to blues to country to slightly rougher-edged rock. None of it sounds like traditional show music: think Mumford and Sons, not Rodgers and Hammerstein."

The New Line cast includes 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), Keith Thompson (Don Curtis), Luke Steingruby (Chris Alvaro), and Marcy Wiegert (Kelli Mangrum). The show is directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, with scenic design by Rob Lippert, lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl, costume design by Sarah Porter and Marcy Wiegert, and sound design by Kerrie Mondy.

New Line Theatre Off Line will host a talk-back with the Hardbody production staff on Monday, June 2, hosted by New Line associate artistic director Mike Dowdy, as part of Off Line's Special Features series. Check the New Line website for details.

More information about Hands on a Hardbody is on the New Line website at

Artistic director Scott Miller says, "I fell in love with this score the first time I heard it - pop, rock, R&B, rockabilly, gospel, country, Latin, you name it. This is a show with brains, a sense of humor, 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. In so many ways, it's really about right here, right now."

The New York Times said about the show, "You can hear the sound of America singing in Hands on a Hardbody, the daring new musical. . . With a bravado to match the gumption of its characters, this new show drives onto the Broadway lot without the high-gloss blandishments that adorn most big musicals. Instead it concentrates its energies on giving voice to a story of average people fighting to hold onto hope in the face of fierce economic headwinds and bad breaks, not to mention buckling knees." The Times went on, "This scrappy, sincere new musical brings a fresh, handmade feeling to Broadway, which mostly traffics in the machine tooled. Burrowing into the troubled hearts of its characters, it draws a clear-eyed portrait of an America that's a far cry from the fantasyland of most commercial musicals. Hands on a Hardbody simply sings forth a story of endurance, hardship and the dimming American dream, which increasingly seems to hover on the distant horizon like some last-ditch motel whose neon lights are blinking out one by one." The Wall Street Journalcalled the show "completely, satisfyingly right!" New York Magazine said, "Hands down, it's musical theatre heaven!"


New Line Theatre is a professional company dedicated to involving the people of the St. Louis region in the exploration and creation of daring, provocative, socially and politically relevant works of musical theatre. New Line was created back in 1991 at the vanguard of a new wave of nonprofit musical theatre just starting to take hold across the country. New Line has given birth to several world premiere musicals over the years and has brought back to life several shows that were not well served by their original New York productions. Altogether, New Line has produced 69 musicals since 1991, and the company was recently given its own entries in the Cambridge Guide to American Theatre and Theatre World. New Line receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission, the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

Hands on a Hardbody runs May 29-Jun 21, 2014, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, at 8:00 p.m., at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (formerly CBC High School), 6501 Clayton Road, just east of Big Bend. May 29 is a preview. Tickets are on sale now through the Fox Theatre Box Office, or by calling 314-534-1111. This show contains adult content and adult language.

HIGH SCHOOL DISCOUNT: Any student with a valid school ID can get a $10 ticket at any performance, with the code word for that show, which will be posted on New Line's Facebook page, at

New Line also continues to offer the COLLEGE FREE SEATS, ten seats put aside for every performance, free to anyone with a valid college student ID, one ticket per ID. The Free Seats will be available at the theatre box office, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:55 p.m. on performance nights only.

EDUCATORS AND MILITARY DISCOUNT: New Line offers all currently employed educators and all active duty military personnel half price tickets on any Thursday night, with work ID or other proof of employment. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

For other information, visit New Line Theatre's full-service website at All programs are subject to change.

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