Hands On A Hard Body – Made In America

Cast - photo courtesy of Coronado Playhouse
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By Kathy Carpenter

Benny’s solo – Lee Price photo by Ken Jacques

Is new better? Not Always. Coronado Playhouse Presents a new Musical, commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse based on the true events of a 1997 acclaimed documentary, “Hands On A Hard Body” inspired by a book by Doug Wright. This was Directed by Teri Brown, with choreography by Patrick Mayuyu, and Lyrics by Amanda Green with music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green.

Frank Nugent – Radio DJ Fatima Pimienta – Cindy PR photoby Ken Jacques

There is a simple plot. Ten Texans are competing to see who will win a brand new shiny red Nissan Truck. Whoever can keep at least one hand on the truck the longest wins, which makes this musical, character driven. The characters make the show. Right? In this case I feel they did not. They underwhelmed me. Each character needed to be over-the-top-wow. And for me they just weren’t. The show was kind of one-note. A few things stood out, but basically this was an ordinary show, without dazzle.

Does mean you shouldn’t see “Hands on A Hard Body?” No. Five reasons why you should see this Musical.

L-r Vivian V. Schmitz (Christian) Ronald – Trevor Standifer Emerson McMurty PhotO by Ken Jacques
  1. It’s just my opinion. I could have been in an off mood.
  2. The actors could have an had off night.
  3. Actors do their best when in front of a full house. The audience was a bit slim.
  4. Community Theatre is trying to recover from Covid. They need your attendance or donation for theatre to survive.
  5. Coronado Playhouse has great air conditioning. Come beat the heat for a couple hours.

The Musical has humorous notes, but I didn’t really laugh. My table mate did. “Hands on a Hard Body” addresses mature themes such as racism, sexism, suicide & war. This is not to encourage, but to show how ridiculous such prejudices can be, lightening the heavier issues.

The number one character for me, my favorite, Fatima Pimienta, as Cindy Barnes. The Pr person, the one running the competition she showed spark and gumption. I probably identified with her, because want to be more like her.

James Tarbert as JD Lee Price as Benny on right Photo by Ken Jacques

The show does deliver real competition. I didn’t know who was going to win the truck. Everyone has a reason they want to win. The story delivers on that point and each person changes over the course of the contest.

Fatima Pmienta Dealership PR Jesus Pena – Diego photo y Ken Jacques

We had some individual slam dunk singers. Gabriela Jentzsch, playing Kelli, stood out in “My Problem Right There.” And her duet with Klye Winnick, as Greg, was a showstopper. The other person with a quality voice, Vivian V. Schmitz, as Norma.

Gabriela Jentzsch – Kelly BL = Kyle Winnick as Greg photo By Ken Jacques

A lot of the songs were catchy tunes that may become musical classics. As a group, singing together as a whole cast, I felt the group was weak, though Individually they were good.

Eric Peterson as Chris photo by Ken Jacques

The show takes place in August 2006, Floyd King Nissan in Longview Texas over long hot days and nights. The show runs two and fifteen minutes including intermission.

Cast – photo courtesy of Coronado Playhouse – photo by Ken Jacques

Hands On A Hard Body

September 2 -25

Coronado Playhouse

Thursday thru Sunday

1835 Strand Way



Next at CPH

Big Fish

Dream, Love. Live Bigger

Nov.4 – Dec. 4


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