Courtesy of The Bison

SEARCY, Ark. – Harding University’s theatre department announced the musical performance “Hands on a Hardbody” in the Ulrey Performing Arts Center this weekend.

The show, inspired by a 1997 documentary, is based on a contest hosted by a car dealership in Longview, Texas. in the early 1990s. “Hands on a Hardbody” depicts the true story of the contestants in a musical. The characters must remain standing and awake with one hand on a hardbody truck for hours during the competition.

Despite the potentially risqué sounding show title, director Britton Lynn assured that Harding’s theatre department is taking it in the right direction.

“It’s a title that seems to lead you in a direction that we don’t normally like to go in the theatre department.” Lynn said. “And if I’m being honest, we have gotten our fair share of good natured ribbing, but at its core, while the title seems to suggest otherwise, this is a great script.”

The show turns a true-story with documentary style script into a musical, allowing the audience to go deeper into the characters’ lives.

Senior Megan Lee said, “All of these different people come into this contest — they don’t know each other, but at the end it’s almost like a family, because they see the struggles that each other is going through, and there’s a respect there. ”

The cast had an opportunity to watch the documentary that inspired the musical after reviewing their scripts.

“The final factor in the decision making process was the fact that I really like the story that this show tells.” Lynn said. “I believe that it falls directly in line with our worldview as followers of Christ.  The fact that it has awesome music was just icing on the cake.”

Multiple scenes in the show portray how people interact with one another and the struggles they may face. The diversity of each character’s story allows the audience to connect with them in some way.

“The show brings to attention some major issues in our society because it is a blunt show,” Lee said.

The musical opens February 20, and people have the opportunity to see the show February 20-23 and March 1 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and can be purchased on