"Hands on a Hardbody," a new musical about a punishing contest to win a truck, will close its Broadway run on Saturday, producers said.
The show is one of the first big casualties of a packed theatrical season that has seen strong ticket sales for star-driven shows like Tom Hanks' "Lucky Guy" and heavy anticipation for upcoming musicals like the West End transplant, "Matilda." It demonstrates once again how inhospitable Broadway can be to shows that arrive without much brand recognition or star power. The biggest name in this production was Keith Carradine ("The Duellists").
When the curtain closes on "Hands on a Hardbody," the show will have played 28 preview performances and 28 regular shows. Ticket sales for the musical, which is inspired by a 1997 documentary about an endurance competition in Texas, have been anemic. Last week, the show played to 22 percent capacity and eked out a gross of $240,040. That's weaker than most straight plays, which tend to do less business than musicals.
Reviews were mixed, although the show did have its partisans.
"Although it’s far from fully loaded in a conventional sense, this scrappy, sincere new musical brings a fresh, handmade feeling to Broadway, which mostly traffics in the machine tooled," Ben Brantley wrote in the New York Times.