Broadway musical (2013)
Hands on a Hardbody the Musical - SYNOPSIS
Ten contestants vie for a "hardbody" truck in Longview, Texas. The last contestant who has his or her hands on the truck wins it. The truck is a Nissan "hardbody" pickup (on stage). The lives of each contestant, along with the car dealer and a radio announcer are revealed during the "hardbody" contest.
The show opens with a pickup truck on stage and Benny Perkins walking up to it, illustrating how a 'hands on a hardbody' contest works. The rest of the contestants and contest runners join the stage and all sing about the truck and the contest ("Human Drama Kind of Thing Lyrics"). The song ends as the contest begins. As the contestants begin to bond they talk about what a truck means to a Texan and why the contestants want the truck and what difference it would make in their life ("If I Had This Truck"). The news crew covering the competition start interviewing the contestants and Janis Curtis and her husband Don catch their attention. Even though he isn't participating in the contest, he is forcing himself to go through everything that his wife has to go through because they're in it together. ("If She Don't Sleep Lyrics").
It's a ways into the competition now and no one has fallen yet. Benny has been teasing many of the contestants, trying to intimidate them, as he is the only one of them who has won the contest in the past or even participated. He begins belittling Ronald McCowan, who has been snacking on candy bars the whole time. Thusly, he isn't doing so well. He illustrates such with his song "My Problem Right There Lyrics" while the girls, Kelli, Heather, and Norma are rooting for him because they don't like Benny. The song ends with him taking his hands off and giving up. Benny says that once the first person drops, more people will soon follow.
Benny and the older man in the competition, J.D. Drew have taken to an unlikely partnership. J.D.'s wife, Virginia, keeps visiting and checking up on him, taking care of him during their 15-minute breaks. J.D., however, doesn't like being coddled and pushes her away, saddening her, and she sings about how they used to be when they were young ("Alone With Me Lyrics"). Then it is revealed that Heather, the common pretty girl in the competition, was chosen by Mike Ferris, one of the people running the competition to win, because she would look good in the advertisements and bring Floyd King Nissan more revenue. He's promised to do what he can to make the competition easier. As he brings lets her sit in the air conditioning they sing ("Burn That Bridge Lyrics").
Meanwhile, Kelli Mangrum and Greg Wilhote have been bonding. They decide that if either of them wins they will go together to LA ("I'm Gone Lyrics"). Norma, who's been using her walkman and her faith in God to get her by, begins to crack and breaks into "Uncontrollable Laughter". This bothers Janis immensely and Benny says that it's essentially the beginning of the end. The laughter transitions into a joyful hymn ("Joy of the Lord Lyrics") that everyone joins in singing, save for Chris Alvaro, the stoic veteran who's been unmoving and unspeaking for the whole competition until he cuts off the song, yelling for everyone to shut up. Everyone's unhappy with Chris's cynical nature and foul language, none more so than Benny, whose son also served. The two exchange nasty words before Chris sings about what it was really like to serve overseas ("Stronger Lyrics"). By the end he's crying and runs offstage, the second to lose the contest. Benny's quick to remove all sympathy and claims that if he—or any other contestants—can't "Hunt with the Big Dogs" they should stay on the porch with the pups.
Act II begins almost like a commercial with Mike Ferris and Frank Nugent, another host, singing a little ditty aptly named "Hands on a Hardbody". Cindy Barnes, the female host, approaches Jesus Pena, the Mexican contestant and says to him that if he wins she's going to have to see his green card. She repeats what she can in extremely broken Spanish, though he has told her repeatedly that he speaks English and was born in Texas ("Born in Laredo Lyrics"), commenting on the racism in the state. Another break occurs and after another spat, J.D. also reflects on his and Virginia's marriage ("Alone With Me (Reprise)").
Janis takes it upon herself to police to competition, since she doesn't think that the judges, Mike and Cindy, are doing a very good job of it. She is particularly watching Heather, and claims that she took her hands off the truck to put some lipstick on. Mike does his best to defend Heather and Janis becomes enraged claiming that the competition is fixed ("It's a Fix") and becomes the third person eliminated. As J.D. and Benny bond further, they begin talking about where they live and J.D., Benny, and Norma become wistful about how the town has been taken over by industry and has none of the personality that it had when they were young ("Used to Be").
Contestants begin dropping like flies as Jesus, Kelli, and Greg all fall quickly. Jesus hallucinates he's playing with his dog and takes his hands off as if to throw a ball. Kelli begins essentially sleepwalking and walks right off the stage. Greg is hesitant to follow her and give up the competition, but decides it's more important that she doesn't hurt herself and runs after her. Heather is taking full advantage of her position with Mike and begins complaining about how uncomfortable the gloves they all have to wear to protect the truck are. They begin driving her crazy and she confesses that she was set up to win the competition and forfeits ("It's a Fix (Reprise)"). Benny confesses to J.D. that his legs are going numb, which he said at the beginning is when it's all over. J.D. encourages him to hold on, but Benny loses faith quickly and recounts what life has done to him when he hoped and prayed ("God Answered My Prayers") and reveals that his son killed himself while he was overseas. He lets go.
Ronald and Chris come back to see how the competition is going, Ronald because he wants to support Norma and Chris because he wasn't accepted at home by his son and wife. So they both root on Norma, who loses faith when her Walkman runs out of juice. They begin to sing ("Joy of the Lord (Reprise)") to bring back her spirit, but it works too well, as she takes her hands off to clap. That leaves J.D. as the last man standing and he wins the competition, restoring some of his relationship between him and his wife. In the end, all the characters recount what happens for them after the competition and how the competition changed their lives ("Keep Your Hands on It").
Read more: Hands on a Hardbody Musical Lyrics
Synopsis plot story to Hands on a Hardbody the Broadway musical