‘Hands on a Hardbody’ wins over crowd

Friday, May 6, 2016
By Shannon Reardon

“Last man with his hands on the truck, wins it,” said character Mike Ferris, played by DCCC student Clark Smith.

“Hands on a Hardbody,” a musical focusing on 10 individuals competing to take home a brand new truck, was performed by DCCC students and alumni on the Marple Campus April 12 to April 23.

At the April 12 matinee, more than half the auditorium was filled with students enjoying the play.

“I performed in the musical last year, but I liked this one a little bit better,” said actor and DCCC alumni, Shawn O’Donnell, now a student at Berklee College of Music. “Everyone gets their moment to perform; its equal.”

As the contest begins, the contestants are strongly convinced that each of them will be the winner of the new truck, and that their strategy will lead them to victory.

But several hours into the contest, Nick Grandizio’s character, Ronald “Ronnie” McCowan’s strategy of eating oranges and Snickers bars causes him to collapse due to low blood sugar, and be the first one to exit the contest.

Shortly after, ex-Marine Chris Alvaro (O’Donnell) leaves the competition. Other contestants, led by Norma Valverde (MameyaaKraa Appiah-Padi), begin to sing, “I do believe,” about their relationships with God. Alvaro tells about the struggles he faced overseas and at home with his wife and son.

Towards the end of the song, Valverde reaches out to touch Alvaro’s arm; Alvaro jumps back and removes his hand from the truck.

After their third 15-minute break, the remaining contestants return to the truck irritable with one another.


First, the contestants turned on previous winner Benny Perkins (Andrew Haase), stating that he already won one truck and that he didn’t need a second one. Perkins maintains that he has what it takes to win once again, and that he will remain victorious.

Then mother of six, Janice Curtis (Elise Marx), tells Ferris that beauty obsessed Heather Stovall took her hands off the truck to reapply her red lipstick.

Stovall, as played by Casey Innes, maintains her innocence, stating that she has always had at least one hand on the truck, throughout the competition.

Curtis exclaims that she would rather leave the competition knowing she competed fairly, and then confesses that she, in fact, had removed her hands from the truck earlier in the competition to catch her falling sunglasses. So she leaves the competition with her husband (Steve Piccerelli).

Jesus Pena (Nick Roscioli) was the next to the leave the competition.

Pena, an aspiring veterinarian, begins to talk to a dog that is not there, and then removes his hands from the truck to chase the imaginary dog.

Young hopefuls Kelli Mangrum and Greg Wilhote are the next to leave the competition.

Mangrum (Kendra Miliken) claims that she was too tired to continue with the competition and leaves to walk home.

Wilhote, played by DCCC alumni and assistant director, Jason Boyer, worries about Mangrum’s safety and leaves the competition to chase after her.

Stovall leaves the competition after her energy boosting pills given to her by Ferris, begin to wear off, and she claims that her gloves are too itchy and she needs new ones.

The rules of the competition state that contestants get one pair of white gloves and that they must wear them throughout the competition. Not being allowed to change gloves, Stovall begins yelling that the whole contest is rigged, and how Ferris promised her she would be the winner of the competition and in their newest ad campaign.

After Stovall leaves the competition, one of the sales associates, Cindy Barnes, (Julie Holdredge) decides to drug test the remaining three contestants.

When it comes time for Perkins to receive his drug test, he exclaims his legs are unable to move and he collapses, removing his hand from the truck.

With the competition coming to an end, McCowan returns to cheer on Valverde. He begins to sing “I do believe” again.

Valverde sings along with McCowan, and as she gains more momentum in the song, she raises her hands as she sings, “I do believe,” thereby letting go of the truck.

As Valverde leaves the competition, only JD Drew (Matt Morris) remains. He wins the truck for his devoted wife, Virginia Drew, as played by Denise Baxter.

While Boyer has enjoyed his time performing at DCCC, the now Temple student says that the next time he returns for a play it will be as a spectator.

“It’s my time to move on,” he says. “We have a lot of first year students that are going to take over the [theatre] program.”

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