Cercone’s Note: Opening this month at LaJolla Playhouse…in my opinion, the most eagerly anticipated musical in many, many, many years. Combine one serving of a musical craftsman (Amanda), with a generous portion of our generations most prolific composer (Trey) and throw in a dash of Pulitzer (Doug) and you get HANDS ON A HARDBODY. Layer that on a quirky documentary with a compelling storyline and you may have the recipe for something very special. I also expect that this is just the beginning from Anastasio & Green in musical theater! – or at least I hope so.
Book by Doug Wright
Lyrics by Amanda Green
Music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Based on the film “Hands on a Hard Body” by S. R. Bindler
Full Production – LaJolla Playhouse
April 27 – June 15, 2012
Inspired by true events and based on an acclaimed 1997 documentary of the same name. For ten-hard-luck Texans, a new lease on life is so close they can touch it. Under a scorching sun for days on end, armed with nothing but hope, humor and ambition, they’ll fight to keep at least one hard on a brand new truck in order to win it. In the hilarious, hard-fought contest that is “Hands On A Hardbody,” only one winner can drive away with the American Dream.
Featuring a brilliant rock, folk and country score from Amanda Green (Bring It On: The Musical) and Trey Anastasio (leader of the improvisational jam band Phish), extraordinary dance numbers from Benjamin Millepied (Black Swan) and a masterful story from Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens), this new Broadway smash hit musical is bound to become an American classic.
Trey Anastasio is a founding member of the GRAMMY®-nominated, genre-melding rock band Phish, which has released 15 studio albums, 75 complete live concert CDs and a series of 186 full concert downloads. Drawing inspiration from experimental jazz, pop, reggae, metal, classical and barbershop music, he has also released eight solo albums and regularly tours with Phish, Trey Anastasio Band and often performs with orchestras around the country.
Amanda Green is currently co-writing the lyrics for Bring It On: The Musical (Alliance Theater, January 2011) which is launching its national tour at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles this November. She wrote the lyrics for High Fidelity on Broadway. Tapped by Arthur Laurents, she wrote additional lyrics for the revival of Hallelujah Baby (Arena Stage, directed by Mr. Laurents). She co-starred/wrote the lyrics for For the Love of Tiffany: A Wifetime Original Musical (NY Fringe Festival). Winner of The Jonathan Larson Award and Abe Ohlman Award for Excellence in Songwriting, she has written episodes of The Wonder Pets for Nick, Jr. and comic essays for Playboy Magazine. In addition to Hands on a Hardbody, Ms. Green and Trey Anastasio have penned songs, a few of which he performs with his bands Phish and TAB. Ms. Green performs her songs everywhere from Birdland to The Bluebird Café in Nashville. Her revue, Put a Little Love in Your Mouth! The Songs of Amanda Green, sold out at Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theater and Joe’s Pub. CD available at www.greenpiecemusic.com.
Doug Wright won the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for I Am My Own Wife in 2004. The play was developed at the Playhouse as the institution’s inaugural Page To Stage workshop production. He received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his book for the Broadway musical Grey Gardens. He also authored the book for the stage incarnation of Disney’s beloved film The Little Mermaid. In 2009, he adapted and directed August Strindberg’sCreditors for La Jolla Playhouse in a production that was named Best Play of the Year by the San Diego Critics Circle. His stage work has been seen internationally in countries from Japan to Romania. Mr. Wright won an Obie Award for his play Quills. He went on to write the screenplay adaptation, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and received the Writer’s Guild of America’s Paul Selvin Award. The film garnered three Academy Award nominations and was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review. Other notable film work includes production rewrites on major releases at Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and The Weinstein Company. For director Rob Marshall, he penned the television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, which received seven Emmy Awards. Mr. Wright currently serves on the boards of the New York Theater Workshop, Yaddo and the Dramatists Guild. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and of the Writer’s Guild of America.
Music from the show