To record or not to record?

Hands on a Hardbody, the fastest closing show on Broadway this season, and a yet to be recorded cast recording don’t necessarily seem like two ideas that would get a motor revving but is it a clever idea?


Despite a number of favourable reviews, the new musical based on a documentary about a group of down-and-outs competing in a gimmicky car contest called Hands on a Hardbody just didn’t garner the support of the masses. As a result they were forced to substantially drop their ticket price until it was decided to close on April 13, 2013. However, this unfortunate news didn’t hurt the plans to make a cast recording and, to be honest, why should it?

There are questions being raised as to whether it is worth it after the musical received such a poor turnout so I want to take a look at four reasons why it is worth the investment:

1. It’s cheap

With the advances in recording technology you could easily record a cast album for less than the cost of the car at the centre of the doco/musical. So why not? I don’t need any more convincing, but just in case you do here are a couple more reasons . . .

2. Extra money and winning back investors

Providing that you could make more from the cast album sales than the cost of the recording studio, extra money is being returned (I assume) to the investors which can only be a good by-product for the show’s producers.

3. Securing a moment of Broadway history

There’s no doubt that we will experience more flops in our lifetime than commercial successes to the extent of Wicked or The Lion King. As a result, there is good reason to record these flops because we can learn from them and create a successful show next time. As the famous quote goes . . . ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’

And now the most important reason . . . .

4. National Tours/Community Productions/School Shows

Why should Broadway be the only place for Hands on a Hardbody? Looking at the content of this show, it probably wasn’t best suited to the sophistication and refinement that is Broadway. However, this show is probably much more relatable in our parts of America than musicals about witches, newsboys or talking cats competing for the right to ascend on a spaceship.

We should be encouraging this cast recording because it gets this mix of rock and roll and musical theatre music out into areas where residents would never consider going to a musical. And hopefully, if it finds enough of a fan base, can inspire a new market of theatre goers who may want to engage with a version of the art form that is more relevant and relatable.

Still need convincing? Two words . . . . Lysistrata Jones

This Broadway flop of 2011/2012 has gone on to see a number of revivals by schools in middle America because the music and storyline is relatable. So let’s do the same with Hands on a Hardbody.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts below.

. . . . . And I know it’s selfish, but I just really want a recording of ‘Joy to the Lord’ from the show!