Fishers actress plays key role in Mud Creek musical


Nicole Crabtree has become a valuable and versatile Mud Creek Players member.

“Nicole Crabtree has quickly become a favorite for Mud Creek regulars, having performed in or directed several of the theater’s recent productions,” Michelle Moore said.

Crabtree, a Fishers resident, also has served as an assistant director and stage manager.

Crabtree has a key role in Mud Creek Players’ production of “Hands on a Hardbody,” which began Sept. 9 and runs through Sept. 24 at Mud Creek Barn Theater in Indianapolis. Moore is serving as director of the musical, which is based on a documentary of 10 down-on-their-luck Texans engaged in a contest of human endurance as they vie to be the last contestant standing with their hand still on a brand-new Nissan Hardbody pickup truck.

Crabtree plays the role of Kelli Mangrum. In the documentary, the real-life Mangrum is one of the toughest competitors and quickly becomes a favorite to win.

“Crabtree’s Kelli is equally tough, but in the beautiful country-style ballad, “I’m Gone” (performed with Matthew Blandford as Greg), her heartbreakingly honest portrayal of a small-town girl desperate to have something more will move the audience to tears,” Moore said.

Crabtree said she loves Mangrum’s spirit.

“It’s bright and alive and I really relate to her resilience and willpower,” Crabtree said. “I wish I had more of her positivity and energy, though. The toughest part about playing her is her character arc. I won’t tell you how it ends, but the place she is at the end of the story is hard to get to with the amount of time changes we have in the show.”

One of Crabtree’s favorite songs is “Hunt With the Big Dogs.”

“It’s just such a bad-guy song. It’s a good tension builder and release for the characters,” Crabtree said. “We all get to get a little angry and work off a little steam.”

Crabtree studied theater at Ball State University but had never heard of this musical.

“I’ve never heard of it being done around here before, either, so that’s kind of fun that we get to do something out of the norm,” she said.

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