Penn State Centre Stage to present 'Hands on a Hardbody'

February 07, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Centre Stage presents the gritty hard-fought musical, "Hands on a Hardbody," with book by Doug Wright, music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, lyrics by Amanda Green, and directed by John Simpkins, Feb. 19–28 at the Playhouse Theatre.

With its country-rock vibe, "Hands on a Hardbody" follows the lives of 10 hard-luck Texans, when 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 hand on a brand new truck in order to win it.

"Hands on a Hardbody" is based upon the 1997 documentary of the same name by S.R. Bindler. The musical remains faithful to the spirit of the original film. The Broadway production received three Tony Award nominations and won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical. Carefully observing characters who exist on the fringes, hoping for a big score, we learn to deeply empathize with the wounded dreamers holding on as long as they can.

Director John Simpkins is head of musical theater at Penn State and a professional director specializing in new musicals. He has directed world premieres of the three-time Drama Desk nominated "Bloodsong of Love: The Rock and Roll Spaghetti Western" (Joe Iconis/Ars Nova); "The Black Suits" (Joe Iconis/Kirk Douglas Theatre); "Legendale" (Fredericia Teater, Denmark); "Raging Skillet" (Theaterworks Hartford); "The Bus" (59E59 Theatre); "ReWrite" (Urban Stages); "The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks" (Lucille Lortel); "Things to Ruin" (co-conceived and directed at Ars Nova, Second Stage); and more.

For additional show information, visit www.theatre.psu.edu. Tickets are available at Penn State Tickets Downtown, Eisenhower Box Office, Bryce Jordan Center, or by calling 814-863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX. Save 10 percent when you buy tickets to four or more shows.

Penn State Centre Stage is the professional arm of the Penn State School of Theatre and serves as a training program for emerging theater professionals. Each production is created from conception to completion at Penn State using skills mastered and taught by its acclaimed theater faculty.

Last Updated February 19, 2019