Riverside Center Dinner Theater favorite Sally Struthers has returned to play the role of the feisty Jeanette in the musical version of The Full Monty.
Joel: You have performed at Riverside Center Dinner Theater before in a production of Hello Dolly. What is about working there that made you come back again to appear in The Full Monty?
Sally: My reasons for returning are that I fell in love with my hosts, John and Patsy Thompson and I wanted to work for Patrick A’Hearn again. I admire him very much.
Have you appeared in any other productions of the Full Monty? How is this experience different than your Dolly experience?
I’ve appeared in this musical four other times: twice in Maine, once in Raleigh, North Carolina, and once in Pittsburgh. I’m happy that this time around, Riverside Center Dinner Theater is using a six-piece band. When I performed the role of Dolly Levi for them I had to sing to pre-recorded tracks. That was a huge disappointment.
You play Jeanette in The Full Monty. How is Jeanette Sally Struthers-like. How do you relate to her?
The role of Jeanette and I are nothing alike, and that’s why it’s fun to play her.
Is Jeanette Dolly-like?
No. Jeanette is 180 degrees from Dolly Levi.
You sing/perform the stopping number “Jeanette’s Showbiz Number” to open the second act. What lessons does Jeanette teach the men through this number?
She teaches them that so far they are not very good at dancing.
What do we learn about Jeanette when she sings the song?
The audience learns that Jeanette has been in show business a long time.
Why do you enjoy performing the number?
I actually enjoy saying all the one-liners in the show more.
Were there any times in your career and/or life when you could have used Jeanette singing that song to you?
What has been the audience reaction to the song and what was the weirdest reaction by an audience member you have received while or after singing it?
My song is not a showstopper or memorable. I like other songs in the show a lot more.
What scene and song that you are not in moves you the most or makes you laugh the most?
My two favorite songs in The Full Monty are the duet sung at the funeral and the song the lead character Jerry sings to his sleeping son.
Why do you think The Full Monty is so popular with audiences?
Because it’s a charming musical and the music is really good.
For those potential ticket buyers who only know the film, what is different and similar about the musical version of The Full Monty?
The film is British with no music. The stage musical is Americanized and has a super score.
I grew up in Buffalo, NY and what I miss is the closeness and caring of the Buffalo community for each other. Have you felt this closeness with your cast?
The cast are all locals and have rehearsed for several weeks before I arrived, so it takes a while to get to know them.
Have you ever been to Buffalo? And if so, what were your impressions of the people there and the wings?
Yes. I’ve been in Buffalo because I worked at Artpark. People were lovely there, and they’re the same way here.
What roles that you haven’t performed yet would you like to perform?
Good question. I have no idea.
When did you get the ‘theatre bug’ and when and what was your first appearance on the stage? And where did you get your training?
I was performing from the time I could walk and talk.. entertaining my family, I went to college at The Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts.
What advice would you give to a student who is considering theatre or television as a career?
If you can think of anything else you’d like to do – do it. This is not an easy life, nor is it glamorous.
Why should theatregoers from the DC Metro area come and see this production of The Full Monty at Riverside Center Dinner Theatre?
Because they are getting a Broadway-worthy performance at 1/3 of the price – truly!
The Full Monty plays through April 28, 2013 at Riverside Center Dinner Theater — 95 Riverside Parkway, in Fredericksburg, VA. For tickets and reservations, call (540) 370-4300.
Julia L. Exline’s review of The Full Monty.