2022-2023 Season

Hands on a Hardbody

Country/rock musical performed on the SYT Mainstage May 19 – Jun. 4, 2023.

Book by Doug Wright
Lyrics by Amanda Green
Music by Trey Anastasio & Amanda Green

About This Production

10 contestants. 4 days. 1 truck. Inspired by true events (and a documentary film with the same title), and infused with a “fresh roots-rock vibe,” this is the hilarious, hard-fought contest where only one winner can drive away with the American dream. The lives of each contestant, along with the car dealer and a radio announcer are revealed during the struggle to win a Nissan “Hardbody.”

This popular show was the winner of Spotlight’s “Pick a Season” contest last year.

Director’s Note

From the playbill:

Hands on a WHAT???

That is exactly what I thought when I first heard the title of this show! In all honesty, it was not my favorite, nor did I have any intention of ever directing it. When Kenny originally approached me about directing a show this season, HOAH was the show I didn’t want to direct—any one but that one! Well, karma smacked me in the face, and it was the only one I was available for. At that moment I vowed to fall in love with this show, and fall in love I did.

HOAH is so much more than I ever expected it to be. It is not about a stupid contest in Texas, it is so much more. It is about humanity, grief, love, and the trials and tribulations of real people who chose to go through a grueling contest to help better their lives and the lives of their families. The perfect plot for a musical.

HOAH is based off of a 1997 documentary of the same name by S. R. Bindler, (and for curious minds, can still be found on YouTube) that follows a real life contest in Longview, Texas, where people would keep their hands on a truck for as long as they could. The last person standing wins the truck. They would face heat, rain, sleep deprivation, and hours upon hours of standing. It was not necessarily a test of the physically fit, but who had the mental stamina to come out on top. HOAH came to the stage in 2012, debuting at La Jolla Playhouse. With a book by Doug Wright and Music and Lyrics by Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio, it enjoyed a short run on Broadway in 2013, and has continued to be presented regionally.

As a director, this show has been one of my biggest challenges. How do you create engaging scene work and choreography, when the cast has to keep their hand on a truck the whole time?! We explored the idea of conscious verses subconscious, and artful ways to use the truck in movement to help tell the story. The truck is indeed its own character. I could not be more proud of this incredible cast. They are a force of talent and each of them brings honor to the real-life humans they are portraying. They leave nothing but truth, understanding and love on the stage. We have had a wonderful time bringing this story to life, and we hope you
enjoy Hands On A Hardbody.

Renee Koher, Director


J.D. DrewCalvin Corey
Kelli MangrumMia Hurley
Benny PerkinsOwen Donsker
Greg WilhoteDeclan Massey
Chris AlvaroTJ Brumbaugh
Ronnie McCowanAnyiah Smith
Heather StovallZoey Waller
Virginia DrewWardeh Hanna
Mike FerrisIan Gray
Cindy BarnesMelana Martinez
Jesusita PeñaJuliana Duran Sanchez
Norma ValverdeLauren Youngstedt
Janis CurtisLyda Armistead
Frank NugentBraiden Lee
Don CurtisAdam Kurbat
EnsembleDrea Metzger
Ensemble / Frank CoverZoie Moller
Ensemble / Cindy CoverEmmy Lange
Ensemble / Dr. StokesVi Garza

Production Team

Role(s)Team Member(s)
DirectorRenee Koher
Music DirectorElise Kurbat
ChoreographerStephen Hohendorf
Stage ManagerMaria Cruz
Scenic DesignAmber Suding
Costume DesignHeather Riddle
Lighting DesignEllie Little
Hair & Makeup DesignRenee Koher
Properties ArtisansKenny Grossman
Vicki Grossman
Sound DesignNevaeh Monk
Technical CoordinatorJosh Hontz
Sound & Spotlight OperatorOwen Morris
Light OperatorElsie Donsker
Deck ManagerZeke Brothers
Microphone OperatorAmber Suding
Tech SwingOlivia Martinez
Conductor/KeyboardElise Kurbat
ViolinMichael Coy
GuitarMiles Naffah
Gage Diehl-Gonzalez
BassEmma Jean Elder
DrumsNicolas Visquesney