Shawnee Little Theatre's 51st year begins with the season opener “Hands on a Hardbody” opening September 21. The Tony-nominated musical, based on true events, tells the story of 10 hard-luck Texans who enter a contest to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck the longest in order to win it.

Shawnee Little Theatre’s 51st year begins with the season opener “Hands on a Hardbody” opening September 21. The Tony-nominated musical, based on true events, tells the story of 10 hard-luck Texans who enter a contest to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck the longest in order to win it.

Set in Longview, Texas, and armed with hope, humor and ambition, the contestants persevere under a hot scorching sun for days in a hilarious, hard-fought contest where only one person can drive away with the American Dream. During this time the hopes, dreams, disappointments and successes of the contestants are revealed through dialog and song. The play contains some adult language.

Performing September 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30pm and September 23 at 2pm, “Hardbody” tickets are available online at shawneelittletheatre.com or at the box office Monday through Saturday from 5:30pm until 8:00pm. Box office phone is 405-275-2805. Season tickets for 2018-2019 will be on sale at the box office during the run of the show.

Directed by Trevor Mastin, with music direction by Sherri Thompson and Melissa Kamm, and choreography by Morgan Arnold and Trevor Mastin, the play takes place in an auto dealership parking lot with the prize---a brand new red pickup---center stage.

The musical was written by Doug Wright, with lyrics by Amanda Green. Music was composed by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green with a country rock vibe. The play has its roots in a movie, based on a documentary about an annual contest at a Nissan dealership in the 1990s.

Featured in the cast are Jeff Foresee, Randy Kamm, Bruce Fry, Rebecca Fry, Parke Arnold, Melissa Kamm, Kaeley Mastin, Karla Kelly, Morgan Arnold, Ford Mastin, K.C. Goldsby, Court Haygarth, Caleb Frank, Julie Purin, Royce Thompson and Rachel Kamm. Playing the Hardbody girls are Cierra Farris, Abigail Frank and Rachel Kamm. Completing the large cast is the ensemble with Jeanne Swinney, Carla Hale, Michael Schwab, Tom Dicken and Martin Kamm.

The production staff includes Krista Farris, stage manager and sound; Julie Souders, music; Elijah Gragg, projection design and projectionist; Tanner Rippee, Preston Fry and Trevor Mastin, lighting; Adyson Farris and Alex Taylor, follow spots; Rebecca Fry, costumes; Trevor Mastin, set design; and Preston Fry, Tom Dicken, Michael Schwab, Martin Kamm and Trevor Mastin, set construction.

Following “Hardbody” will be “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a play from the novel about how a young orphan ultimately became Peter Pan. The fantasy will be performed November 9-17 with Loree Hopkins directing.

Continuing in 2019 the season features the Stephen Sondheim Tony Award winning dark musical, “Sweeney Todd” February 8-16, 2019. Bob Wendland directs.

The season climaxes April 5-13, 2019 when SLT revives one of the funniest shows ever staged at the theatre. “Noises Off” is a farce about a second-rate troupe of actors putting on a second-rate play, with no one prepared for the performance. In three acts, the audience sees a disastrous dress rehearsal, a madcap opening night and a haphazard at best closing night. Elijah Gragg directs. Season tickets will be on sale through the run of “Hardbody.”

Shawnee Little Theatre is a non-profit totally volunteer organization celebrating its 51st year as Shawnee’s community theatre. 2018-2019 season sponsors are Action Physical Therapy, Fowler Auto Group, Turner and Cindy Davis, Metro Brokers: The Presley Group, Dr Kirk Hoster and Jordan Ewert, BancFirst, Berkshire Hathaway Benchmark Realty, SSM Health Medical Group, Shawnee Milling Company and Matt and Shelli Hopkins.