'Hands on a Hardbody:' It’s Not What You Think
La Jolla - almost 5 years
From the title of this La Jolla Playhouse musical, you might imagine one very sexy piece of theater. But the "hardbody" in question is actually a truck. And the hands all over it belong to contestants in a bid to win the vehicle by hanging on for as long as possible; the pickup goes to the last one standing.
It was a real event, an actual endurance contest, staged at a Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas in 1995, and detailed in a 1997 documentary, from which the provocative title is taken.
“I saw the film years ago, and I was absolutely gob-smacked,” says playwright Doug Wright, who was commissioned to write the stage version of Hands on a Hardbody for the La Jolla Playhouse. We talked during a Sneak Peek for the press last week, which included a few songs from the new musical.
“I grew up about 60 miles from Longview,” the warm, affable Wright says, with no trace of a twang (he attended Yale and NYU). “I thought the documentary would be a kitschy piece of Americana at first,
La Jolla article