Ten hopeful Texans vie for a dream and a brand new truck as “Hands on a Hardbody” hits McGinnis Theatre at East Carolina University on Feb. 15.
The musical tells the true story of a contest that took place in the ’90s and is based on the book by Doug Wright with lyrics by Amanda Green and music by Trey Anastasio and Green.
Matt Donahue as Benny Perkins eyes the competition in “Hands on a Hardbody.” To his right, Jessica Blair Rogers portrays Norma Valverde.
“We’ve got a down-to-earth show based on a real event with real people,” assistant director Donald Sutton said. “The stories intertwine and come together to portray a community dealing with real world issues, while standing around a truck, of course.”
Sutton is a senior majoring in theatre arts with a dual concentration in musical theatre and professional acting. He believes the audience will undeniably relate to this production.
Austin Mejia is a senior from Charlotte and plays Jesus Pena, a young Mexican-American competing to win a truck so he can sell it to put himself through veterinarian school. He said that he really felt compelled to audition because he could relate to the role.
“I took what I learned growing up from my father to establish a foundation,” Mejia said.
Jean Christian Barry is a junior majoring in theatre arts with a concentration in musical theatre from Durham. He plays the role of Ronald McCowan.
“I think the fact that the story is told through such a contemporary musical voice is going to help the audience enjoy this show a lot,” said Barry.
“This show is a sort of perspective piece on very real people taken to a performance medium that demands that everything be larger than reality,” Barry said.
Senior Christopher Sprouse is one of the scenic and costume designers for the production. He is majoring in theatre arts with a concentration in design and production.
“I believe we have created a very fun atmosphere for both our cast and the audience,” Sprouse said. “We have a real truck on stage. It lifts, spins and the horn even works!”
Performances will be held in McGinnis Theatre at 8 p.m. Feb. 15-17, 2 p.m. Feb. 18, and 8 p.m. Feb 19-20. Tickets are $17.50 for the general public and $10 for ECU students and youth. Call 252-328-6829, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ecu.edu/cs-cfac/theatredance/Playhouse.cfm for more information.
Talen Piner (center) portrays Greg Wilhote in “Hands on a Hardbody” at McGinnis Theatre.