‘The Full Monty’ at The Little Theatre of Alexandria by Julia L. Exline

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The Little Theatre of Alexandria presents The Full Monty, a musical comedy written by Terrence McNally, with music and lyrics by David Yazbeck. Frank D. Shutts ll directs this riotous production about six unemployed steel workers in need of some quick cash — who decide to organize a bare-it-all striptease act in order to get it.

– Christopher Harris (Dave), Michael Gale (Malcolm), and James Hotsko (Jerry). Photo by Shane Canfield.

– Christopher Harris (Dave), Michael Gale (Malcolm), and James Hotsko (Jerry). Photo by Shane Canfield.

 

Set Designer Myke Taister uses sheet metal and brick to create an onstage urban setting — Buffalo, NY, with construction by Chris Feldmann and painting by Luana Bossolo. Smaller sets include a men’s restroom, as well as large props wheeled onstage such as beds and a fume-filled car, as needed. Lighting Designers Ken and Patti Crowley playfully utilize colorful spotlights, and Sound Designers David Correia and David Hale use urban effects like buses to help capture the atmosphere.

The real “wow” factor, however, comes from the live orchestra, conducted by Musical Director Christopher A. Tomasino, that is filled with great playing by the talented musicians on reeds, trumpets, trombones, keyboards, bass, and drums. The overall jazzy effect is a treat to listen to. Costumers Jean Schlichting and Kit Sibley keep it casual for the most part, with the exception of the men’s on-stage outfits…and not much else! With the closing of their factory, a group of disheartened men sing about their lack of prospects (and therefore, self-worth) in the song, “Scrap.” Group choreography by Ivan Davila is well done, bringing to mind 90’s era music videos, with folding chairs used as props.

Jerry Lukowski (James Hotsko) begins to panic, for if he cannot maintain his financial responsibilities, or he will lose shared custody of his son, Nathan (Colin Cech). On a particularly downtrodden evening, Jerry and his best friend, Dave Bukatinsky’s (Christopher Harris) curiosity get the better of them and they follow Dave’s wife Georgie (Cara Giambrone) and Jerry’s ex-wife Pam (Amy Conley) into a male strip club, where they see hundreds of raucous women throwing cash at the dancers. A plan begins to form in Jerry’s mind — that if he himself was a male stripper, then money would come in waves. However, there is one big problem—Jerry is not in the same physical league as the sculpted Chippendales dancers, nor does he possess the necessary dance moves and stage presence…how could he possibly draw an audience away from a far better-looking competition?

The answer, he decides, is this: where the Chippendales dancers maintain a bit of mystery, Jerry will not…he will go The Full Monty, and bare everything. This idea attracts other “regular” men like Jerry, including his reluctant best friend, Dave. With the recruitment of their ex-boss, Harold Nichols (Jack Stein), the audition process begins. Malcom Lee steals the audience’s attention as Noah “Horse” T. Simmons, an elderly man who secures a place in the group with his song, “Big Black Man.” With the inclusion of Malcom MacGregor (Michael Gale) and Ethan Girard (Keith Miller), their act is complete…

Rehearsals are disheartening until they come up with the idea of incorporating basketball moves in Davila’s energetic and well-choreographed song, “Michael Jordon’s Ball.” With the help and support of their quirky pianist Jeanette (Jennifer Strand), they may just have a sliver of hope. But when plot-twists, betrayals, surprises, and insecurities threaten the act, it comes down to the last second.

Will this group of average (okay, maybe even less-than-average) men be able to ‘pull off’ this ambitious feat?

This show is rowdy, silly, and one hell of a good time! Annie Ermlick is fantastic as the goofy Vicki Nichols, and her song “Life with Harold” is a definite highlight of the show. My personal favorite moment of the production is the first time the men decide to take their clothes off in front of each other in a song called, “The Goods.” As they awkwardly walk around the stage in their boxers, their nervous, shy natures are nothing short of adorable. The plot is also smartly modernized to reflect our country’s current economic climate, which makes the show more relatable and therefore, more enjoyable.

These talented actors leave nothing sacred, and the open, honest bravery that they display throughout the production is highly impressive and admirable.

 Marcus Fisk (Reg), Michael Gale (Malcolm), Rene Keith Flores (Marty), Ben Norcross (Ensemble), Dan Deisz (Teddy), Christopher Harris (Dave), and Michael Bagwell (Tony). Photo by Shane Canfield.

Marcus Fisk (Reg), Michael Gale (Malcolm), Rene Keith Flores (Marty), Ben Norcross (Ensemble), Dan Deisz (Teddy), Christopher Harris (Dave), and Michael Bagwell (Tony). Photo by Shane Canfield.

Hilarious, entertaining, and even poignant at times, The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s The Full Monty is a solid evening of entertainment, with a finale that is sure to make you blush…and cheer!

Running Time: Two and a half hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

The Full Monty plays through February 2, 2013 at The Little Theatre of Alexandria— 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA. For tickets, call (703) 683-0496, or order them online.

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One Response to ‘The Full Monty’ at The Little Theatre of Alexandria by Julia L. Exline

  1. Terry Bradley February 3, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Ms. Exline, thank you for your wonderful review from opening night of LTA’s production of The Full Monty! As a member of the orchestra, I especially appreciate your kind words about our contribution to the show. I’ve played in the pit for well over 100 musical productions, and, if we get mentioned in a review at all, it’s often negatively. My son and I thoroughly enjoyed playing this show and are very grateful for what you said in your review. Thank you so much, and keep up the great writing!
    Terry Bradley, Trumpet