full monty

The production of The Full Monty opened at The Little Theatre On The Square in Sullivan. This is one of Broadway's most revealing musicals and will charm your pants off.

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Shelbyville Daily Union

It was girls’ night out at The Little Theatre on the Square Wednesday night. The hilarious, and at times bawdy, production of The Full Monty began its run which will last until August 13. This musical has poignant touching moments as well as hilariously funny moments.

This play is billed as an adult theme production with adult language and a mature theme and is recommended for audiences over the age of 16. In fact, as one person I spoke with at intermission commented this play pushes the envelope and pushes it hard for Sullivan, Illinois. Be prepared for exactly what the show bills, the full monty, or complete nudity, at the end. However, this is all done in very good taste and is not as racy as it sounds.

The story line is about six unemployed steel workers in Buffalo, NY, who decide to work together as a team to make some quick cash and help a friend pay his back child support. Their zany scheme is to stage a male strip show after they see what a professional strip show makes in box office receipts.

The comedy ensues and the laughs never stop. Yet, as you are wiping the tears of laughter from your eyes, you realize this show is not as much about sex as it is about friendship, being a parent in a difficult world, and how a couple can love each other for what they are, not what they should be.

The production also has an underlying message about our image obsessed society that demands all men look like Brad Pitt and all women should look like Jennifer Aniston. Instead this show says quite the opposite. It celebrates everybody for exactly who they are and what they look like.

Based on the record-breaking 1997 Academy Award-nominated hit movie of the same name. Four-time Tony Award winning writer Terrence McNally adapted the screen hit for the stage and added his own unique brand of American comedy to the story. In fact to help the story feel closer to home, McNally moved it to Buffalo, NY, from Sheffield, England, where the original movie took place.

All six of the male characters give an excellent performance. In fact all the performers are convincing, funny, sensitive and do a wonderful job.

However, two performers really stand out in my mind. Glory Kissel appearing in her first season at The Little Theatre, plays Jeanette Burmeister, a piano player of indeterminate

years who has seen it all in show biz and receives the loudest reaction and laughter from the audience with her dry sense of humor.

The other is C. K. Edwards who played Noah T. “Horse” Simmons. Edwards plays a black man who stayed in character as an elderly gentleman who most would consider not a candidate for a strip show. Kissel and Edwards garnered the most laughs of the cast.

Between all the laughing and hollering there are also strong dramatic performances by the lead characters Jerry Lukowski, played by J. Michael Zygo and Dave Bukatinsky played by Michael Walker. Those two portray the strong bond between men and the anxiety about self-image that men worry about also. As the play rolls along and the other characters are added, Zygo and Walker show the audience the sensitive side of the play.

The musical numbers are all good but there several duets that really stand out. The acting, dancing, singing, even the different sets for this play are some of the finest I have witnessed in many different plays I have seen at The Little Theatre.

If ever I was to use the cliché this play is a must-see, I would use it here. If you enjoy theater, comedy, excellent acting, wonderful musical performances and just plain old belly laughs, you must catch this performance before it is over.

The Full Monty is directed by M. Seth Reines, Artistic Director of The Little Theatre On The Square, and assistant directed and choreographed by Jamal McDonald. Mr. McDonald was a member of the cast of the national tour of The Full Monty and also the assistant director and assistant choreographer. The music director for the play is P. Jason Yarcho.

Tickets for The Full Money may be ordered by calling The Little Theatre ticket office toll-free at 1(888) 261-9675 or (217) 728-7375. For a complete schedule and pricing information, visit The Little Theatre On The Square online at www.thelittletheatre.org.

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