UOMTS puts on Tony-nominated musical
The University of Ottawa’s Musical Theatre Society (UOMTS) will be performing the Broadway production, Hands on a Hardbody on Jan. 29. And no, it has nothing to do with the type of hard body you’re thinking of.
Based on a 1997 documentary film, the musical follows the ten contestants participating in a competition to win a “hardbody” pickup truck by holding onto it for as long as possible. While waiting to see who will be the last person with their hand on the car, the contestants get to know each other better than expected as they perform a collection of country music numbers written by Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio.
The cast has only been rehearsing since November, but Mathieu Roy, a fourth-year theatre major and the president of the club says they began planning the show in August and that they “tapped every single resource (they could)” in order to acquire the rights to the show, which was a lengthy and expensive process.
“We’ve relied heavily on original creations the past two years, and it’s done great for us, but this year we decided to take that jump and buy rights for a show, take that jump and try for something bigger,” says Roy. “It’s been, so far, I think anyways, it’s been a great success.”
One of the biggest hurdles of putting on this specific show was the large prop required for the production—the hardbody itself. The truck being used comes in at approximately 900 lbs, and had to be carried in pieces up the stairs of Academic Hall to the stage, the largest piece being around 600 lbs.
“This is the first time a truck’s been brought into the theatre ever, and this is the oldest performance space in the National Capital Region,” says Roy.
“Being in the theatre department for four years now, it’s the first time I’ve seen something this ridiculous. But I’m happy to be the one that brings something this ridiculous into the department. I’m happy to be remembered as the guy who brought the truck into the theatre,” he said.
Although the UOMTS is an independent club, and is not directly affiliated with any department, Andrea MacWilliams, a fourth-year music major and the show’s musical director believes that Roy’s position as the Assistant Technical Director for the department opened doors for them that have helped make this production one of the club’s best.
For those coming to see the production, Roy has some words of advice to have the best experience possible—see the matinée.
“It’s a more intimate setting, often, because not too many people want to come early Saturday afternoon. My theatre viewing experience tells me that a more intimate setting, 99 per cent of the time, is so much cooler.”
Tickets are $15 each and are available through the show’s Eventbrite page at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/hands-on-a-hardbody-tickets-19959162392, from cast and crew members, or at the door. The show runs from Jan. 29-31, with two performances on Jan. 30.