3-D Theatricals “The Full Monty” is the rip-roaring story about a group of laid-off steelworkers, who each need to overcome their inhibitions, insecurities and personal demons in order to accomplish something big. Based on the 1997 British comedy, the film was later adapted into the hit Broadway musical in 2000. The stage version features the book by Terrance McNally and score & lyrics by David Yazbek.
Unemployed pals, Jerry Lukowski (Allen Everman) and Dave Bukatinsky (Matthew Downs) are on a mission; to find a job and fast! Jerry’s ex-wife, Pam (Lauren Decierdo) is about to revoke custody rights if he can’t start paying child support and Dave’s self-depreciating attitude is taking a toll on his wife, Georgie (Jeanette Dawson). After the guys witness first hand how much money these women are willing to pay for a striptease act, a light bulb goes off in Jerry’s head. He is certain they could also make some big money by creating their own strip act. Dave isn’t convinced, but agrees to go along with the scheme.
We soon meet the troubled, Malcolm Macgregor (Tyler Miclean). Malcolm is in the midst of committing suicide when Jerry and Dave rescue him from his running vehicle filled with exhaust fumes. After making light of the situation, they all become friends and Malcolm decides to join the bandwagon on becoming strippers.
Tyler Miclean plays Malcolm. Miclean’s portrayal of the frangible character is quite captivating as you’re instantly drawn to his broken demeanor yet pleasantly surprised with his strong vocals in numbers like, “Big-Ass Rock” and the tearjerker, “You Walk with Me.”
Next, Jerry, Dave and Malcolm reconnect with ex-foreman, Harold Nichols (David Engle) while seeking out some much needed dance lessons. Harold, who happens to be an excellent dancer reluctantly agrees to join the group but only because his wife, Vickie (Janna Cardia) doesn’t know about his job loss and he desperately needs money to pay for her extravagant lifestyle.
Jerry, Dave, Malcolm and now Harold hold an open audition to find a few more guys to join them. Out of the blue, piano accompanist and showbiz veteran, Jeanette Burmeister (Candi Milo) appears and offers to lend her expertise to the struggling group.
Candi Milo is a comedic genius! Milo delivers some side-splitting laughs throughout the show. She also gets to display her equally amazing vocals in the blatantly honest, “Jeanette’s Showbiz Number.”
After several failed auditions, they finally meet Noah “Horse” T. Simmons (Rovin Jay), an older, unassuming gentleman who can still bust a move and the self-proclaimed talent less, Ethan Girard (Nick Waaland), whose only contribution to the group is being well endowed. With all 6 members in place, the group is now complete and later name themselves, “Hot Metal.”
In between the hilarity of such musical numbers as “Big Black Man” and “Michael Jordan’s Ball,” there are also heartfelt moments woven throughout the show, such as when Malcolm and Ethan both discover their love for The Sound of Music and Dave and Harold’s touching number, “You Rule My World,” a song about their wives.
With the support of their friends and families in the audience, the guys are finally ready to make their big debut. This becomes the make-or-break moment for Jerry, as he is now faced with self-doubt and begins to second guess his decisions. He receives a pep talk from his son, the reason why he started this journey and decides to join the rest of the group already on stage.
Network’s set design successfully transports the audience front and center of all the action. The added sound effects designed by Julie Ferrin was heightened by the performers planted in the audience to help replicate a rousing crowd, eager for the men to drop everything! The sets were beautifully illuminated by lighting designer, Jean-Yves Tessier, most brilliantly in the closing number, “Let It Go.”
There were a few wardrobe malfunctions, ironically with the tear away stripper pants worn by Matthew Downs (Dave) and Nick Waaland (Ethan) during the final moments of the show. If anything it just amplified the energy of the audience who were in high anticipation for the big reveal.
By the end of the show, we discover the heart of the story is really the comradery of these men, that will do everything that is necessary, or possible to make it happen. After all, that is the true meaning behind The Full Monty.
The Full Monty is playing at The Plummer Auditorium now through May 8th. Tickets are available by calling (714) 589-2770 or online at PLUMMER AUDITORIUM. Ticket prices start at $25.