ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
REFUGE THEATRE PROJECT 2018 – 2019 SEASON CONTINUES WITH
HANDS ON A HARDBODY,
MARCH 15 – APRIL 27,
AT PRESTON BRADLEY CENTER
Ten People Enter a Contest to Win a Truck, but Only One Can Win in this Chicago Premiere Inspired by True Events. Chris Pazdernik Directs with Music Direction by Jon Schneidman of Doug Wright’s Book with Lyrics by Amanda Green and Music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
I'll be out for the opening/press night Sunday, March 17th, so check back soon for my full review.
Refuge Theater Project is proud to announce the cast and production team for its second production in its 2018 – 2019 season, Hands on a Hardbody, March 15 – April 27, book by Doug Wright, with lyrics by Amanda Green, and music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, directed by Refuge Theatre Project’s Artistic Director Christopher Pazdernik and music directed by Jon Schneidman. Hands on a Hardbody runs Fridays through Sundays at 8 p.m. at Mason Hall in the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave.
Previews are Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. NOTE: There are no performances Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 and added performances Monday, April 1 and Thursday, April 4. Preview tickets are $15, regular run tickets are $30 each and available at RefugeTheatre.com.
Nominated for Best Musical by the New York Drama League and inspired by true events, the hilarious and hopeful Hands on a Hard Body is based on the acclaimed 1997 documentary of the same name by S.R. Bindler, produced by Kevin Morris and Bindler. Only one winner can drive home the American Dream and 10 hard-luck Texans all want the keys. Under a scorching sun for days on end, they will each fight to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck in order to win it.
Hands on a Hardbody marks the third collaboration between Director Christopher Pazdernik and Music Director Jon Schneidman at Refuge. They previously worked together on the Jeff-Award winning High Fidelity and last season’s Jeff-Award nominated Spitfire Grill. New York Magazine said Hands on a Hardbody is “Hands down … musical theater heaven!” and The New York Times said, “You can hear the voice of America singing in this daring new musical.”
The cast of Hands on a Hardbody includes Alli Atkenson, “Kelli Mangrum;” Max Cervantes, “Chris Alvaro;” Katherine Condit, “Janis Curtis;” Derek Fawcett, “Benny Perkins,” Dan Gold, “Mike Ferris;” Jenna Fawcett, “Cindy Barnes”; Jared David Michael Grant, “Ronald McCowan;” Tim Kough, “JD Drew;” Molly Kral, “Heather Stovall;” Matt Patrick, “Frank Nugent;” Cathy Reyes McNamara; “Norma Valverde;” Roy Samra, “Greg Wihote;” Judy Lea Steele, “Virginia Drew;” Sebastian Summers, “Jesus Pena;” Anthony Whitaker, “Don Curtis/Dr. Stokes;” Jasmine Young, female swing.
The production team includes Christopher Pazdernik*, director; Jon Schneidman, music director; Ben Baylon, production manager; Mark Bracken*, technical manager; Ariel Triunfo, choreographer; Matt Dominguez*, associate director; Sean Mohler, stage manager; Evan Frank*, set designer/props master; Collin G. Helou* and Jennifer Kules, lighting designers; Isaac Mandel, sound designer/audio designer; Uriel Gomez, costume designer and Brendan Siddall, production assistant.
*Denotes Refuge Theatre Project company member
ABOUT CHRISTOPHER PAZDERNIK, DIRECTOR
Christopher Pazdernik is a director/choreographer with "a near encyclopedic knowledge of musicals" (Newcity). He recently directed Refuge’s The Last Session and is best known for the critically acclaimed production of High Fidelity (Jeff Awards for Best Director and Best Production of a Musical) also at Refuge Theatre Project, where he also serves as artistic director. With Porchlight Music Theatre, Pazdernik is a proud artistic associate, and serves as company manager and casting associate. He has directed and choreographed many Porchlight Revisits productions including The Rink, Anyone Can Whistle, City of Angels, Applause and Do Re Mi; served as associate director for Porchlight’s Merrily We Roll Along and has co-curated the Porchlight New Faces Sing Broadway series. Recent other credits include Carrie (Ohio Northern University), Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop), Planted (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival), Make Me a Song (Eclectic Theatre Co.) and Story of A Story (The Untold Story) (Underscore Theater Co.). He is also a frequent cabaret director and curator including Broadway's Cult Classics at Davenport's Piano Bar and the His & His series at Pride Films & Plays. An openly HIV+ artist, Pazdernik was a 2016 Windy City Times 30-Under-30 honoree for his contributions to Chicago's LGBTQ community. He currently serves on the Ambassador Committee for the AIDS Run/Walk Chicago and as chairperson on the Community Advisory Board for Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ organizations.
ABOUT JON SCHNEIDMAN, MUSIC DIRECTOR
Jon Schneidman is a two-time Jeff award-nominated music director, pianist and songwriter based in Chicago. He has been studying and playing music since he was seven years old, and has performed on stages all throughout the United States. As a music director, Schneidman’s work has covered a vast array of styles, from country and rockabilly, to rock and grunge, to hip-hop and rap, to musicals and easy listening, to everything in between. His knowledge and understanding of such diverse genres has afforded him the opportunity to work on varied projects such as cover bands, rap albums, circus acts and beyond. Schneidman is currently working on his first solo album.
ABOUT 2019 YEAR OF CHICAGO THEATRE
Refuge Theatre Project is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.
ABOUT REFUGE THEATRE PROJECT
Refuge Theatre Project strives to foster a broader, more accessible theatre community. They promote the production of under-produced, under-appreciated musical theatre in traditional and non-traditional theatrical spaces creating a unique, affordable, only-in-Chicago theatrical experience.
Refuge Theater Project is proud to announce the cast and production team for its second production in its 2018 – 2019 season, Hands on a Hardbody, March 15 – April 27, book by Doug Wright, lyrics by Amanda Green, and music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, directed by Refuge Theatre Project’s Artistic Director Christopher Pazdernik and music directed by Jon Schneidman. Hands on a Hardbody runs Fridays through Sundays at 8 p.m. at Mason Hall in the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave. Previews are Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. with opening/press night Sunday, March 17 at 8 p.m. NOTE: There are no performances Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 and added performances Monday, April 1 and Thursday, April 4. Preview tickets are $15, regular run tickets are $30 each and available at RefugeTheatre.com.