USA - America's first place for BroadwayGlobal arts information, examiner.com gives a first look, sneak peak at "Hands On A Hardbody". The made in America musical based on a true life story and S. R Binder's 1997 documentary film is bringing new hope to the future of Broadway musicals. Directed by Neil Pepe who is also Artistic Director of Atlantic Theater Company.
"Hands On A Hard Body is a story of ten contestants who place their hands on a truck in hopes for the American dream. The last person with hand left on the truck wins it. The endurance to "Hold On, Keep Your Hands On It" is the key to this marathon musical with the audience remaining the winners. This rock, funk, blues, pop, gospel and country blend is a winning Broadway musical of the season. A Theatre Chat must be in it to win it, Broadway musical. Get your tickets now to be in the house at Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Each character is well defined by the book, acting and direction. Like the true American story, they all are broke and struggling to make ends meat. So it really won't matter who wins. The audience would be more than happy for them all. You almost wish that the audience could vote, like "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" because every character tugs at your heart.
A young Hispanic man who needs the win to pay for veterinary collage, the religious woman who needs a truck to take her kids to school, an older man who lost his job, the young girl working for UPS, our war vet, a few more surprises and the African American man who's love of food with glorious gospel riffing will bring down the house. They all want the American dream just to own a truck. Yep not even a home, just a truck with some wheels gives one independence and hope.
"Hand On A Hardbody" is a commercial for just about every brand, but apparently the American dream is a made in Japan, a Nissan. The relationships that develop between last year winner Hunter Foster (Benny Perkins), the bring down the house gospel riffing Jacob Ming Tent (Ronald McCowan) and all ten contestants are irresistible. Hunter Foster (Benny) even gives them the strategic information, when the hands and legs go numb your done. Not even Broadway's "Annie" can bring out this much sun. "Hands On A Hardbody" may be an off road experience for Broadway, but offers a new high velocity musical for every generation.
It cant hurt that Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award winning author, born in Texas Doug Wright "I am my own Wife" wrote the book. He also wrote the book for successful "Grey Gardens". A score by Trey Anastasio (known from band Phish) with lyrics by Amanda Green "High Fedelity" and "Bring It On the Musical" make "Hands On A Hardbody" the funk, rock, country, four wheel drive musical of the season. Ain't no mountain high enough, so look out "Motown".
"Hands On A Hard Body" Standby Kristoffer Cusick (Benny, Jesus, Chris Greg, Mike, Ronald) may be the most wanted understudy on Broadway. If ever you wanted to see that little added bio in your Playbill "for this performance the role of.. " you can only hope that Kristoffer Cusick is filling in for one of the roles. A BroadwayGlobal favorite. Lucky for "Hands On A Hardbody" cast they all were healthy playing their assigned roles.
As expected Golden Globe and Academy Award winning song writer Keith Carradine (JD Drew) is the front wheel drive of "Hands On A Hardbody", with his beautiful singing, endearing acting and charismatic personality. You all remember Carradine's Tony Award nominated performance in "Will Rogers Follies".
The entire "Hands On A Hardbody" cast rocks vocally, with multiple stunning performances. The A Team Cast: Allison Case (Kelli Mangrum), Hunter Foster (Benny Perkins), Jay Amstrong Johnson (Greg Wilhote), David Larsen (Chris Alvaro), Jacob Ming-Trent (Ronald McCowan), Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone (Heather Stovall), Mary Gordon Murray (Virginia Drew), Jim Newman (Mike Ferris), Connie Ray (Cindy Barnes), Jon Rua (Jesus Pena), Keala Settle (Norma Valverde), Dale Soules (Janis Curtis), Scott Wakefield (Frank Nugent), William Youmans (Don Curtis/Dr. Stokes).
Kristoffer Cusick (Benny, Jesus, Chris Greg, Mike, Ronald), Rayness Gonzales (Standby for Norma, Janis, Janis, Virginia), David Jennings (Standby for Ronald, Frank), Janet Krupin (Standby for Kelli, Heather : Dance Captain), Corey Mach (Standby for Chris, Greg, Jesus), Happy McPartlin (Standby for Cindy, Janis, Virginia, Norma), Chelsea Packard (Standby for Kelli, Heather, Cindy, ), Bart Shatto (Standby for Don/Dr. Stokes, Frank, Mike, Benny, JD).
Having a partner as a SDC choreographer and seeing that "Memphis" Choreographer is credited for "Hands On A Hardbody" I knew that this was going to be a challenge to keep the movement interesting, while contestants are glued to a truck. First you must know that the ten contestants have breaks, and theatrical conventions are taken wisely in staging. The rhythmic choreography, flat bed drum tapping, truck horn honking, show stopping number proves Choreographer Sergio Trujillo could choreograph dry paint. But let Mr. Trujillo not forget what those who work with him say... it may be the reason Sergio did not win the Tony Award for "Memphis". It sure was not the lack of his amazing choreography in "Memphis".
"The Broadway Musical with heart and humanity, because trucks make money, cars don't. "This true American story "Hands On A Hardbody" brings exhilarating hope to Broadway! BroadwayGlobal.
In a country that thrives on competition with those of the highest education left to triumph, a musical of class, race and a bit of greed brings Broadway back to its' roots. The achievement of "Hands On A Hardbody" is the heart, soul and perseverance it brings. These desperate individuals come together with hope and would never have met in the real world. A new lease on life is born with Doug Wright's book. Doug's Playbill note is well taken. "Hands On A Hard Body" will strike a chord with Americans as well as the globe.
"Hands On A Hardbody" Brooks Atkinson Theatre located at 256 W 47th St New York, NY 10036. For tickets visit www.handsonahardbody.com. Special thanks to one of BroadwayGlobal's favorite producers Barbara Freitag who carries on her love for the arts and goal of late husband "Buddy" both who produced the magical "Memphis" and many more. Be there or B Square.
The entire production team from costumes, lighting sets should all be honored to take part in the building of "Hands On A Hard Body" a new musical for every generation, now "Hold On, Keep Your Hands On It"! grab that ticket and don't let go. "Hands On A Hard Body" is a Theatre Chat, BroadwayGlobal top must see Broadway musical of the season.
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