Strip-free San Diego: Full Monty Closes July 9; Bway's O'Neill Next, Sept. 26

News   Strip-free San Diego: Full Monty Closes July 9; Bway's O'Neill Next, Sept. 26 The stripping ends at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre July 9. The sold out hit musical, The Full Monty, already extended past its original July 2 close date, will end its world premiere in Southern California in anticipation of a bigger opening - Broadway.

The cast of The Full Monty performs the final strip.
The cast of The Full Monty performs the final strip. (Photo by Photo by Craig Schwartz)

The stripping ends at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre July 9. The sold out hit musical, The Full Monty, already extended past its original July 2 close date, will end its world premiere in Southern California in anticipation of a bigger opening - Broadway.

The lovable losers of The Full Monty move to New York City Sept. 26 with an opening set for Oct. 26. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre -- which recently evicted the elderly ladies of Waiting in the Wings -- will host the strippers.

The show's book writer, Terrence McNally, has been working in San Diego, retooling the show, pre-Broadway. He shares the musical's author credits with pop songwriter David Yazbek, who is best known for co-writing the theme to "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" with Sean Altman of Rockapella.

The Full Monty opened at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre June 1 to good reviews and an Old Globe box office record. Before the show had faced the critics, 98 percent of the seats had been sold. The reviews, which noted problems but universally proclaimed the show a people pleaser and a hit, continued the push to Broadway that the box office had already indicated.

Currently, the cast features Jason Danieley, Patrick Wilson, Annie Golden, Emily Skinner, Andre De Shields and Lisa Datz. Wilson (Bright Lights, Big City, Fascinatin' Rhythm) stars as Jerry Lukowski (the Robert Carlyle role) -- the brains behind the amateur strippers -- who desperately wants to impress his son. "The Full Monty" 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. Ironically, the movie ended just as the gents braved the full monty to a club filled with the town's populace.

McNally and Yazbek, however, have 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 (Denis Jones) who beats the stuffing out of homophobic Jerry (Wilson), and the guys' rehearsal pianist, Jeanette (Kathleen Freeman), whose shining moment is "Jeanette's Blues."

Other songs in the score include "Michael Jordan's Ball," a number where the gents learn to dance through basketball drills, "Big Black Man," De Shield's song where he attempts to strut his best moves, "You Walk With Me," a love song for Malcolm (Danieley) and Ethan (Floyd Collins' Romain Fruge) sung first to Malcolm's departed mother, then to his lover and the criticially praised comic suicide number "Big Ass Rock," in which Dave (John Ellison Conlee) and Jerry contemplate the ways they can help Malcolm off himself.

McNally is, of course, well known for the books to Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman as well as his plays Corpus Christi, The Lisbon Traviata and the oft-naked Love! Valor! Compassion!. Yazbek, on the other hand, is a pop songwriter has produced for XTZ, Space Hog and the late Tito Puente, while opening as a singer-songwriter for the acts Verve Pipe, the Samples and Ben Folds Five. His albums include "The Laughing Man," named Pop Album of the Year by NAIRD/AFIM, and 1998's "Tock."

The director, Old Globe artistic director Jack O'Brien, will repeat his duties on Broadway. A Tony Award winner for Porgy and Bess and nominated for Damn Yankees, O'Brien recently directed the Globe's productions of The Seagull, The Magic Fire and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.

Rounding out the cast are Jay Douglas (Goodspeed's Glimmerglass) as Minister, Laura Marie Duncan as Susan Hershey, Angelo Fraboni as Teddy Slaughter, Pam's live in boyfriend, Jannie Jones as Joanie Lish, Marcus Neville as Harold Nichols, Patti Perkins as Molly Macgregor, Jimmy Smagula as Tony Giordano, C.E. Smith as Police Sergeant/Moving Man, and Todd Weeks as Carol Crosby.

Two boys, Michael Fiss and Adam Covalt, will alternate in the role of Jerry Lukowski's son, Nathan.

Jerry Mitchell is the choreographer. Mitchell has experience with movies and nudity -- his credits include "In & Out" and the yearly BC/EFA charity event Broadway Bares. Mitchell's also gave Hedwig and the Angry Inch their musical staging, as he did with Captains Courageous and the Paper Mill Playhouse's recent revival of Follies.

2000 Tony Award nominee Harold Wheeler did the orchestrations for Monty, with Ted Sperling as musical director. Wheeler orchestrated The Wiz, Dreamgirls, Little Me, A Chorus Line, Fame, The Life, and Side Show. Musical director Sperling last filled that post at the Old Globe with Floyd Collins.

Designing The Full Monty are John Arnone (sets), Howell Binkley (lighting), Robert Morgan (costumes) and Jeff Ladman (sound).

For tickets, call (619) 239-2255. The Old Globe is on the web at http://www.oldglobe.org.