The Full Monty may have been skunked at the 2001 Tony Awards, but in the words of the new musical's final song, "let it go, let it go." The Full Monty's national tour is way ahead of those guys from The Producers, already opening their first road engagement June 6 at Toronto's Elgin Theatre. Leading the six amateur strippers is Rod Weber (Jekyll & Hyde, The Civil War) as Jerry. The gentlemen's accompanist, Jeanette, is played by singing legend Kaye Ballard (The Golden Apple, Carnival).
Also in the cast are Andrea Burns (Parade, Saturday Night) as Vicki Nichols, Chris Diamantopoulos (Les Miserables) as Ethan Girard, Susann Fletcher (Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Guys and Dolls) as Georgie Bukatinsky, Danny Gurwin (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Forbidden Broadway 2001) as Malcolm MacGregor, Carol Linnea Johnson as Pam Lukowski, Tony nominee Larry Marshall (Play On!, Porgy and Bess) as Noah "Horse" T. Simmons, Daniel Stewart Sherman (The Mineola Twins, Corpus Christi) as Dave Bukatinksy and Steven Skybeel (Love! Valor! Compassion!, Ah Wilderness!) as Harold Nichols. Brett Murray and Bret Fox share the role of Nathan Lukowski.
The company consists of Heidi Blickenstaff, Erick Buckley, Don Burroughs, Kevin M. Burrows, Julie Foldesi, David Patrick Ford, Kimberly Harris, Patti Mariano, Dana Meller, James Moye, Milton Craig Nealy, Ryan Perry, Brad Sharp and David A. White.
Produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Lindsay Law and Thomas Hall, in association with Ed and David Mirvish, the tour will also reach Chicago (Sept.), Washington DC (Nov.), Boston (Colonial Theatre, beginning Jan. 24, 2002), Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.
Tickets are $25-$99. For reservations in Toronto, call (416) 872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333. *
Also in the Broadway Full Monty cast are Annie Golden, Emily Skinner and Lisa Datz. Wilson (Bright Lights, Big City, Fascinatin' Rhythm) stars as Jerry Lukowski (the Robert Carlyle role in the film) - the brains behind the amateur strippers - who desperately wants to keep his son while earning some major cash. Supporting players include Nicholas Cutro, Thomas M. Fiss, Jay Douglas, Laura Marie Duncan, Angelo Fraboni, Denis Jones, Jannie Jones, Liz McConahay, Sue-Anne Morrow, Jason Opsahl, Patti Perkins, Jimmy Smagula, C.E. Smith, Matthew Stocke, Todd Weeks and Ronald Wyche.
"The Full Monty" film was the surprise low-budget hit of 1997 with Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and wins with Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score. The movie told of six average-looking British men who decide to star in a strip show to raise money in their economical depressed mill town (The term "the full monty" means to take something to the fullest - in the case of the strippers, that means to get completely naked). Ironically, the movie ended just as the gents braved "the full monty" to a club filled with the town's populace.
Bookwriter Terrence McNally (Master Class, Love! Valor! Compassion!) and rock composer David Yazbek, however, opted to change the locale of the piece, moving it to Buffalo, New York from Sheffield, England. They have also added a few characters: a gorgeous gay stripper (Jones) who beats the stuffing out of homophobic Jerry (Wilson), and the guys' rehearsal pianist, Jeanette (Freeman), whose shining moment is "Jeanette's Showbiz Number."
Before opening on Broadway Oct. 26, The Full Monty began life at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre June 1 with good reviews and an Old Globe box office record. Performances extended there through July 9 before the show was remounted at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre Sept. 25, opening Oct. 26. For the week ending Dec. 3, The Full Monty grossed $596,581, filling 89.2 percent of its seats.
* The Full Monty released its score on RCA Victor Dec. 12, 2000. The recording preserves the complete sung score, from the "Overture" to the final strip number, "Let It Go." Also on the disc are:
"It's a Woman's World"
"Big Ass Rock"
"Life With Harold"
"Big Black Man"
"You Rule My World"
"Michael Jordan's Ball"
"Jeanette's Showbiz Number"
"Breeze Off the River"
"You Walk With Me"
"You Rule My World (Reprise)"
The album was recorded Oct. 30. Composer-lyricist Yazbek and Billy Straus produced with the show's musical director, Ted Sperling, co producing.