A new musical about a car dealership contest in Texas might not be what you would expect from Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. In Hands on a Hardbody, there are no 15 minute guitar-heavy, lyrics-free, pot-fueled run-on jams, just a collection of stories about the people competing in a small town contest to win a pickup truck, focusing on 10 characters with their hands firmly fixed on the Nissan in question. Below, Anastasio and lyricist/co-composer Amanda Green (Bring It On: The Musical) discuss the show, which opens on Broadway this Thursday, and preview some of the songs from the new musical.
Hands on a Hardbody premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in California last May, but it’s based on the popular 1997 documentary of the same name by S.R. Bindler and Kevin Morris. The entire cast has remained in tact from its debut at La Jolla, including Keith Carradine (Deadwood), Allison Case (Hair), Hunter Foster (Little Shop of Horrors), and Jay Armstrong Johnson (Catch Me If You Can). Hands on a Hardbody is directed by Neil Pepe (Speed-the-Plow) and features staging by Sergio Trujillo and book by Doug Wright, who won the Pulitzer Prize for I Am My Own Wife. The show is currently in previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.