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Showbituary: Hands on a Hardbody

Hands on a Hardbody


Fuck it all, Hands on a Hardbody, we hardly knew ‘ye. And tomorrow, 28 previews and 28 performances into your life on Broadway, you’re closing up shop.

We’re sorry to see you go. Because despite mixed reviews, and even our personal mixed feelings about the quality of your content, we admired you.

There was something honorable about the way you rolled into NYC and parked on the Great White Way, challenging the blockbuster-musical status-quo with your tightly focused story about average, every day Americans facing everyday problems. Besides, the fact that anyone was brave enough to attempt to musicalize this story–wherein people stand still with their hands on a truck for literal days on end–makes us want to walk through Times Square smooching strangers.

Because why should the whole world be subjected to musical after musical that panders to some outdated idea of what ‘Broadway’ should be? With tap-dancers and storytelling targeted to your grandmother and a musical language that is either horribly outdated, or horribly untethered to any kind of time or place in reality. Why do theaters continue to fill up with fare that takes no risks, is easy to take on tour, and sneaks into the Tony Awards on the merits of safety and comfort alone? Seriously. Nothing makes us angrier than artistic endeavors that venture nothing. (We’re looking at you Nice Work If You Can Get It, Memphis, and even, at times, Bonnie & Clyde.)

But Hardbody –no, you’re not one of those shows. You took a tricky concept–seriously, how do you make a show compelling when no one is moving?–and tried to reach a new audience in an authentic, modern musical language. Sure, you had some shortcomings. But for the gumption of your creative team and producers alone, we couldn’t stay mad at you for long and we’re sorry to see your run cut so short.


Photo: VanityFair.com

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