Hands on a Hardbody was inspired by true events out of Longview, Texas. One of the many local dealerships in a sea of Wal-Marts and Walgreens invited contestants to “keep their hands on it,” and the last one with their hands on the truck won it. As the days and nights wore on, a kinship developed among the competitors which added to the drama of the already high stakes event. It doesn’t seem like such a crazy leap to pull it into the world of theatre. Of course, the contestants in our production sing, dance, and take their hands off without repercussion because they are mid-song. Regardless of all the theatricality, you can be assured there indeed was a sassy Janis Curtis, a hymn-singing Norma, the long-shot JD, and the rest of the crew who wanted to simply have their “piece of the pie.”
On a deeper note, I want to paraphrase Doug Wright, who wrote the book for the musical:
This is a story about America. For some, it is a land of promises with opportunities that can reward motivation and ambition. There is this darker side to those promises, the side that involves a survival-of-the-fittest mentality. That is a tension that currently exists in this country: how much do we long to get ahead, and how much do we collectively want to be compassionate citizens that bring our diverse culture forward? Hands on a Hardbody tries to ask questions of character and address that strange dichotomy.