You just lost your job. With no income, you are about to lose custody of your only son. Sure, you can get another job, but what if it’s for meager pay? What do you do if ends still don’t meet? Enter the steel town of Buffalo, NY, where six unemployed men find themselves in dire straits after the steel mill closes – for good. Desperation, fear, hopelessness, and other insecurities set in, leading the men to one conclusion: strip for money.
The bromance that this ensemble of leading men creates is quite charming; their chemistry is simply delightful.
“The Full Monty,” originally produced as a 1997 film, is a musical comedy about falling to your deepest depths and digging out of the pits of life through determination, risk-taking, and camaraderie — with oodles of raw, sarcastic humor and lots of skin, of course! The story begins as the men face the crushing news of the steel mill’s closing. Saddled with joint-custody issues, marital problems, financial woes, and pending repossessions, the men band together in desperation and form their strip act, “Hot Metal.” As the men cope with body insecurities and fears of baring one’s flesh before hundreds of hungry eyes, trying to convince the town’s women of the goods they bring is no easy task. So, they promise something that even Chippendale’s can’t deliver; and in the end, it is definitely worth the wait!
Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre’s production of “The Full Monty” showcases strong ensemble connectivity and great vocal talent. The bromance that this ensemble of leading men creates is quite charming; their chemistry is simply delightful. Dean Davis brings an endearing, everyman quality to his role as Dave Bukatinsky, and Matthew Beagan as the preteen Nathan Lukowski shows promising talent as a young actor. Eric Hufford wields a smooth tenor as Jerry Lukowski, while Christian Gonzalez (Malcolm) expresses excellent emotional connectedness in song. His duet with Justin Ritchie (Ethan) in the number “You Walk with Me” is especially touching. I just couldn’t get enough of Adam Timko’s worldly-wise Jeanette. Adorned in glittering after-five garb and eroded from decades of working in show business, Timko totally embodies himself as the would-be strippers’ coach, giving the men curt advice on the rough matters of show business, but all from a heart of love.
The ladies of the cast bring a powerful energy to the production, belting out tunes with great vocal prowess and fierce attitude. I particularly enjoyed Cara Pellegrino’s spunky Georgie and Caitlyn McClellan’s bourgeois Vicki, as both ladies exuded outstanding vocal strength and vibrant characterization.
Director Mason Catharini has woven together a solid production filled with lively music and fun features for the eyes. You’re sure to get a belly laugh (several of them, actually) from comical numbers like “Big (expletive) Rock,” “Big Black Man,” and “Jeanette’s Showbiz Number,” which were my faves. The finale, “Let It Go,” is truly the icing on the cake. I must admit, it’s indeed a feast for the eyes!
Running Time: Approx. 2 ½ hours with a 15-minute intermission.
Advisory: Strong language, partial nudity, and sexual themes — for adult audiences only.
“The Full Monty” runs Thursdays through Sundays until July 22, and on Wednesday, July 19 at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre in Annapolis, MD. For tickets and information, click here.