Broadway’s ‘Hands on a Hardbody’ to Shutter

Musical posts closing notice after struggling to pick up speed at the box office

Hands on a Hardbody” is taking its hands off the vehicle and withdrawing from the competition, with the Broadway musical posting a closing notice for the end of the week.

Most legiters had already seen the writing on the wall for the ensemble-based tuner. With no big-name thesps to turn heads and a title taken from the little-seen 1994 documentary on which it was based, “Hardbody” has struggled to attract audiences since it began perfs Feb. 23.

After earning generally encouraging press in a tryout run at the La Jolla Playhouse in spring 2012, critical reaction in Gotham last month ran the gamut from raves to pans. It wasn’t enough to jumpstart sales at the modestly scaled musical, which has largely been nudged from the media spotlight by splashier tuners (“Kinky Boots,” “Cinderella”), Brit hits (“Matilda”) and star-driven plays (“Lucky Guy,” “I’ll Eat You Last”).

Musical marked the legit debut of Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, who co-composed the tunes with lyricist Amanda Green, but the jam-rock band’s fans evidently didn’t follow Anastasio to the Rialto in sufficient numbers. Weekly grosses never hit $325,000, with last week’s B.O. coming in at about $240,000 and auds reported at less than 60% of overall capacity.

With sales low enough that there was little opportunity to earn back much of the production’s mid-range capitalization costs, “Hardbody” will rep a fairly significant financial loss for a team of producers led by Broadway Across America and Beth Williams.

“Hardbody” drove onto the Rialto with a cast that includes Keith Carradine, Hunter Foster and Keala Settle, among others. Neil Pepe helmed the show, with a book by Doug Wright (“Grey Gardens,” “I Am My Own Wife”) about a competition in which down-on-their-luck Texans participate in an endurance contest to win a new truck.

Show will shutter April 13 after 28 previews and 28 regular perfs.

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