Hands on a Hardbody chronicles the hilarious and hard-fought contest between 10 Texans who are trying to drive away with the American dream. Based on the real-life “Hands on a Hard Body Contest,” documentary, this critically acclaimed musical tells the story of an endurance contest, where the contestant who keeps their hand on a truck the longest, gets to keep the truck. If you let go, you lose! The book is by Pulitzer Prize-winning Doug Wright, with tuneful country-rock melodies and soulful lyrics by Phish’s Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio. Hands on a Hardbody explores humor, hardship, heartache, and hope, and captures the voice and spirit of Americans trying to rise above difficult times. This is a wonderful story, uplifting and genuine. “You can hear the sound of America singing with this daring new musical!” – The New York Times.
Auburn Area Community Theatre (AACT) is starting the engine on its 19th season with a show unlike any other, the all-American musical “Hands on a Hardbody.” The show will open at the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center on August 5th and run for 2 weekends, closing on August 14th.
Based on the real-life documentary by the same name, this musical centers around a days-long endurance contest where one person will win a Nissan Hardbody pick-up truck by keeping a hand on it the longest. Each contestant has their own vision of the American dream that winning the truck can bring them. A new lease on life is so close they can touch it, but if you let go- you lose! This modern musical is driven by various musical styles with tuneful melodies and soulful lyrics by Amanda Green and the band Phish’s very own Trey Anastasio.
“This is one of the most unique and complex shows that Auburn Area Community Theatre has brought to the stage,” says, Carter deShazo, AACT Board member and cast member of the show.
“We had picked this show and were planning auditions before the pandemic hit, and we have waited three years to bring it to life,” says Artistic Director, Andrea Holliday. “This show has a lot of heart- you’ll laugh, you might cry, and we definitely think you will leave with a smile on your face and a song in your head.”
The cast of 16 stage performers, the directors, the choreographer, and all the tech crew are local volunteer talent. And don’t forget the Hardbody! Thanks, in part, to Autosport Bodyworks of Opelika, there will be a real live Nissan Hardbody on stage. It’s like the 17th cast member. You don’t want to miss this show!
JD DREW: Male, 50’s and up (Range: Baritone, G2-D4)
A “good old boy” with pomaded gray hair and a high-wattage grin. Out of work for a while now, he feels like a failure. He needs to win to feel like his life is still worthwhile.
BENNY PERKINS: Male, 40’s (Range: Tenor, C#3-G#4)
Charming, ingratiating grin and lots of homespun philosophy. He’s confident because he won last year, but he is hiding his troubles.
GREG WILHOTE: Male, 20’s (Range: Tenor, D3-B4)
A freckled white kid in a baseball cap. His big dream is to go to Hollywood and be a stuntman.
JESUS PENA: Male, 20’s (Range: Tenor, E3-B4)
A driven Mexican kid, who has won a scholarship to go to veterinarian school. Everyone underestimates him.
CHRIS ALVARO: Male, 20’s (Range: Tenor, Ab2-Ab4)
Chris is a mystery. He wears a hoodie, and a pair of aviator glasses to conceal his eyes.
RONALD MCCOWAN: Male, 30-40 (Range: Tenor, F3-B4)
A good-natured African-American with a slight Louisiana accent. He is a ladies’ man.
MIKE FERRIS: Male, 30-40 (Range: Tenor, Eb3-Bb4)
A car salesman. Boyishly handsome wears a cheap tie with a Nascar clip. Ambitious.
DON CURTIS: Male, 50-60 (Range: Baritone, A2-Bb3)
Wears a cardboard sign on his head that proclaims “I LOVE YOU JANIS, GO BABY GO!”
FRANK NUGENT: Male, 40-60 (Range: Bari-Tenor, Eb3-Gb4)
Disc Jockey, a diehard good ole boy dressed in a Stetson.
KELLI MANGRUM: Female, 20’s (Range: Mezzo-Soprano, A3-E5)
A pretty girl with steel ambition.
CINDY BARNES: Female, any age (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible)
A car saleswoman and former Miss Gregg County, still fond of pageant hair and pastels.
JANIS CURTIS: Female, Mid 60’s (Range: Low Mezzo, D3-Bb4)
A tough old bird with sun-burnished skin and missing teeth.
HEATHER STOVALL: Female, 20-40 (Range: Mezzo-Soprano, A3-D#5)
A flirtatious restaurant hostess.
VIRGINIA DREW: Female, 50’s (Range: Mezzo-Soprano, G3-C5)
A one-time beauty settling into middle age feels like JD is losing interest in her.
NORMA VALVERDE: Female, 30-50 (Range: Low Mezzo, D3-G5)
Has warmth, faith, and a prayer circle to keep her going. A Latina or African-American actress usually plays this role.
Either male or female:
DOCTOR STOKES: Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible)
A professor from LeTourneau University.
Our rehearsals begin May 31 and are Monday 6-8:30, Wednesday 6-8, and Thursday from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Not every actor will be called for every rehearsal. The performances are August 5-7 and 11-14. Please list any schedule conflicts between August 14.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Saturday, August 6th offers a “Pay What You Can” night, the ticket price is a donation in any amount. Call 334-246-1084 or visit www.auburnact.org for ticket purchases and more information. To purchase tickets, please visit www.auburnact.org. Email email@example.com for group rate information.
AACT is a non-profit volunteer organization. AACT offers multiple opportunities to get involved and depends on the time and energy of many wonderful people from within the community. There’s something for everyone! Please visit www.auburnact.org to find the volunteer interest form or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. Follow AuburnACT on Facebook or keep up to date at www.AuburnACT.org for the latest information on auditions, volunteer opportunities, tickets, and more.