Wasatch Theatre Company Stages Fight to Recapture the American Dream

Hands on a Hardbody by Wasatch Theatre Company

Wasatch Theatre Company (WTC) continues 21st season with a rollicking musical about 10 down-and-out Texans grabbing hold of their American Dream—in the form of a hardbody truck. The regional premiere of “Hands on a Hardbody” performs Friday–Sunday, February 8–23 at The Gateway in the WTC Black Box Theatre. Tickets to Hands on a Hardbody are available at wasatchtheatre.org.

“We were drawn to the musical because it features a diverse cast of characters who all have one thing in common, they are down on their luck and they are fighting to regain the American Dream—whatever that means for them,” said Nicholas Dunn, WTC artistic director. “It’s a wonderful score where the energy of the music matches the urgency of what the characters feel, and the audience will feel it too.”

Hands on a Hardbody is a rock-and-roll musical based on the 1997 documentary by the same name about the real-life hardbody truck competition in Longview, Texas. The contestants compete to win a fully loaded pick-up truck and the last person to take his or her hand off the truck wins.’

Hands on a Hardbody by Wasatch Theatre Company
Hands on a Hardbody by Wasatch Theatre Company

The musical features a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Dough Wright with music and lyrics by Amanda Green (“Bring It On”) and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. After premiering at La Jolla Playhouse in 2012, Hands on a Hardbody moved to Broadway’s Atkinson Theatre where it was nominated for three Tony Awards and nine Drama Desk Awards. 

Director and WTC Founder Jim Martin: “The characters are larger than life, yet relatable, and the drama of the competition really pulls you in. I think everyone will find themselves connecting with and rooting for one of the competitors. For audience members who haven’t seen the documentary, there are many surprises in store as they watch the characters fight to keep hold of their dreams.”

The creative team is led by director Jim Martin with musical direction by Anne Puzey.

Performance details:

“Hands on a Hardbody” by Doug Wright, Amanda Green, and Trey Anastasio

The Gateway, WTC Black Box Theatre (124 South 400 West, Salt Lake City)

February 8–23; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. (February 10 and 17)

Tickets: watastchtheatre.org, 801-869-4600; $20.00


DON — Kurt Christensen

VIRGINIA — Anne Considine-Olsen

FRANK — Danny Eggers

CHRIS — Derek Gregerson

CINDY — Cheryl Holdaway

HEATHER — Ali Lente

KELLI — Karli Rose Lowry

NORMA — Casey Matern

BENNY — John Patrick McKenna

MIKE — Brian Murphy

J.D. — Paul Naylor

RONALD — Andrew Taula

GREG — Dallon Thorup

JESUS — John Valez

JANIS — Liz Whittaker

About Wasatch Theatre Company

WTC envisions theatre as a classroom where actors, directors, playwrights, and technicians can apprentice, experiment, and produce in a supportive environment that encourages individual and collaborative growth.

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.