Spring musical one of laughter, struggle and a pickup truck

Hands on a Hardbody

Hesston College Theatre will present five performances of the show, “Hands On a Hardbody,” as the spring musical at 7 p.m., Feb. 28 to March 3 and 2 p.m., Mar. 4, at the AGCO Corp Auditorium in the Communication Center, 420 W. Lincoln Boulevard in Hesston.

The show is rated PG for some mild language.

Based off the 1997 documentary of the same name, small-town Texans compete for a brand-new “hardbody” pickup truck at a local car dealership. The event is a contest as whoever remains standing the longest with one hand on the truck will get to drive it home.

“This show has been fun to stage,” said director Rachel Jantzi. “We have a truck on stage on casters that will be turned and maneuvered by the cast. It [the truck] almost becomes an additional cast member.”

The show brought together 35 people, both on stage and behind the scenes, including 16 students, two faculty members, the college’s academic dean and one community member.

“The music is fantastic and catchy,” Jantzi said. “It makes no apologies and really takes off in some numbers and breaks your heart in others. Another thing that stands out are the characters. These are real people with heart and determination. This wasn’t a joke to them. This contest meant everything. It was incredible.”

“Hands on a Hardbody” debuted in the musical world at the La Jolla (Calif.) Playhouse in April 2012, running through June of that year. It opened on Broadway in March 2013 and ran for about a month. That year, it was nominated for three Tony Awards, including for Best Original Score.

Tickets for the Hesston College productions are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. Tickets can be purchased through the Hesston College Bookstore in person, by phone at 620-327-8104 or online. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. Tickets will be available at the door 45 minutes prior to show time and are subject to availability.