Friday was opening night for the new musical at Vive Les Arts Theatre in Killeen.  “Hands On A Hardbody” is the story of a contest to win a truck – by keeping your hands on it for as long as you can.  A random group of about twelve people surround a new truck on display at an East Texas car dealership, and the contest begins.  Needless to say, as the days wear on arguments ensue, friendships develop, life stories are told, and all of the craziness that you can imagine in a competition like this is thrown out on the stage.

I expected all of this.  But this play is worth writing about because of what I didn’t expect. 

From every age group and of every color, the cast presents the visual appearance of a thrown-together group of misfits and dreamers.  Even more interesting to find that the cast members were as diverse as their characters, ranging from a high-school student to retired professionals to a professor at Baylor University, all combining their various backgrounds and talents to bring this production to life.

And do they ever bring it to life.  Let’s be honest, community theatre can be hit or miss.  With all the best intentions and all the most earnest effort, some plays are just better than others.  This is one of those plays that’s just better.  I expected music, and I expected to get a few laughs.  What I got was a meticulously detailed production involving a dozen very talented people and music that had the whole audience roaring with applause.

“Hands On A Hardbody” also brought with it a great message.  I won’t throw out any spoiler alerts because (hopefully) you’re going to see this play this weekend, but this production will enrich you in more ways than you’re ready for.  It was a pleasant surprise and a fabulous night.

Get your tickets at www.vlakilleen.org, support your local theatre, and enjoy your weekend.