TR Robertson ….San Diego Musical Theatre, at their new home at the Horton Grand Theatre, has brought back the very funny and entertaining musical, “The Full Monty”, an Americanized version of the 1997 hit film of the same name. In 2007, SDMT brought to the stage for their first show, “The Full Monty”. To kick off the start of the 2018 season, SDMT decided to present this award winning musical once again and the result is a show audiences will be enthralled with, a fast paced, little guy triumphs, toe tapping tale.
The stage version is the story of six unemployed Buffalo steel workers, each looking for something to make their life significant and at the same time provide a living for their families. The workers are inspired to present a Chippendales type review to raise money after several members see part of a performance at a local club, even though none of the workers have any type of dance experience. A further decision will inspire the workers to go “Full Monty”, totally nude at the end of their show. There are a few stereotypical references throughout the Americanized musical version of the film, but their presentation is not overly stated.
Photos provided by SDMT.
“The Full Monty” was nominated for 9 Tony Awards after its Broadway appearance in 2000 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The musical won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and after it opened in London at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2002, won a London evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical. The musical had its world premiere at the Old Globe in San Diego.
The musical is taken from the 1997 film, adapted from a book by Terrence McNally with music and lyrics by David Yazbek. The SDMT production is directed by Neil Dale, who directed SDMT’s “Billy Elliot”. Music Director Don Le Master leads the 13 piece Full Monty Orchestra. Le Master is the resident musical director for SDMT. The Artistic Production Team assisting Dale includes Costume Designer Janet Pitcher, Hair and Wig Designer Peter Herman, Sound Designer Kevin Anthenill, Lighting Designer Michelle Miles and Stage manager Maria Jahelka. Choreographer Paul David Bryant returns from a 2 year absence from SDMT to provide both dance movements for the struggling workers attempt at dancing and the resulting final performance the steelworkers put together.
The talented six down-on-their-luck steelworkers are made up of 3 SDMT veterans and 3 making their SDMT debut. Playing the struggling divorced dad Jerry Lukowski, who is constantly trying to win the affection of his son, is SDMT vet Steven Freitas. Freitas presents the troubled Jerry with great emotion and stands out with a solo number, “Breeze Off the River”. Perhaps one of the hardest roles in this musical is that of playing Dave Bukatinsky, a slightly over-weight member of the group who is also dealing with a troubled marriage. Danny Stiles is perfect for this part, encompassing both a funny take on Dave and a tender side when dealing with his troubled marriage. Stiles also stands out in the powerful “Man”, sung with Freitas, and the emotional, “You Rule My World”, sung with Richard Van Slyke.
Playing the “mommies boy” Malcolm MacGregor, providing many funny moments. Richard Van Slyke, plays Harold Nichols, a man trying to hide his misfortunes from his wife. Rounding out the six members of the dance group, which they call Hot Metal, is Jack Eld as Ethan Girard, a gangly, young member of the workers and an audience favorite, Ron Christopher Jones as Noah “Horse” T. Simmons. Jones wows the audience with his presentation of “big Black Man”, as he appears as the oldest member of Hot Metal and morphs into an agile, high energy performer. The performance of this group has you convinced they are struggling steelworkers, just trying to do something to make ends meet and doing something to make both them and their families proud.
Other standouts in the cast include Joy Yandell, who returns to SDMT, playing Dave’s wife Georgie Bukatinsky and Amy Perkins, playing Pam Lukowski. Playing Pam and Jerry’s son is Owen Schmutz as Nathan. Owen has a number of plays to his credit already as well as a CBS television appearance on the show “Scorpion”.
Other cast members include Karyn Overstreet as Vicky Nichols who presents a powerful presentation as Harold’s wife in “Life With Harold” and “”You Rule My World” sung with Georgie. The boisterous piano player, Jeanette Burmeister, is played by Devlin, who has appeared in a number of county theatre companies. She doesn’t miss a beat in the funny, “Jeanette’s Showbiz Number”. Other cast members include Scott Arnold as Buddy “Keno” Walsh, Beth Alison as Estelle Genovese, Luke Harvey Jacobs as Marty, Sydney Joyner as Joanie, Stella Kim as Susan, Shayne Mims as Tony, Paul Morgavo as Reg and Alex Nemiroski as Teddy.
“The Full Monty will play at Horton Grand Theatre in the Gaslamp District until February 25th. It is a fun and funny musical and the closing number, “Let It Go” is a classic finish. Tickets range from $30-$70 and can be purchased by calling 858-560-5740 or go to www.sdmt.org. The theatre is located at 444 Fourth Avenue, next to the Horton Grand Hotel. Next up for SDMT is the classic “South Pacific”, beginning April 27th.