Mud Creek presents ‘Hands on a Hardbody’


The Mud Creek Players will try their hand on a 1997 cult classic documentary.

The “Hands on a Hardbody” documentary, which was later transformed into a musical of the same name, is about 10 down-on-their-luck Texans engaging in a grueling contest of human endurance as they vie to be the last contestant standing, with their hand still on the brand-new Nissan Hardbody pickup truck, director Michelle Moore said.

The Mud Creek Players will present the Tony Award-winning show from Sept. 9 to 24 at Mud Creek Barn Theater in Indianapolis. The musical features pop, country and gospel music by Phish frontman Trey Anastasio with a real 1997 Nissan truck as its primary stage prop.

Westfield resident Anya Andrews portrays Norma Valverde, an iconic contestant from the original documentary. 

Norma is convinced that she will win the truck because she has God and her faith on her side. 

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From left, Matthew Blandford, Nicole Crabtree, Anya Andrews, Natalie Coronado Hammerle, Nicholas Gibbs and Jennifer Kaufmann rehearse a scene from “Hands on a Hardbody.” (Photo courtesy of Rob Slaven/

“Fans of the documentary will remember Norma as the woman who frequently breaks out in infectious laughter,” Moore said. “In the musical version, Ms. Andrews takes the audience to church with her amazing, uber-exuberant rendition of the knee-slapping, gospel-style song, ‘I Feel the Joy.’”

“I really like Norma because, ultimately, she’s just a really good person,” Andrews said. “Someone who wants to provide for her family and do right by them and by anyone she meets. I think one thing that’s challenging is to kind of get her energy. To summon the energy that she’s supposed to emit when she’s in her zone with the Lord. It’s kind of difficult for me but I’m getting there.”

This is Andrews’ first time performing at Mud Creek. This is only the second time she has performed community theater in her adult life. 

“I was in ‘Holiday Inn’ at Footlight Musicals, which was really fun,” she said. “That was me stepping out of my comfort zone, and I really liked it, so I wanted to do some more.”

Noah Nordman, who grew up in Lawrence and now lives on Indianapolis’ south side, plays Ronald McCowan.

Nordman likes the off-the-wall nature of his character.

““He’s so fast paced and he’s just very quick on his feet and I think that’s really fun,” he said. “It’s a little challenging because I’m also a little quick on my feet, but he just bounces from thing to thing and it’s hard to embody that and not look like I’m thinking about it.”

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