Christian Anderson, Cleavant Derricks, Robert Westenberg and Carol Woods are among the Broadway vets set to "let it go" with the new national tour of The Full Monty. As previously announced, the touring company will kick off at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre before traveling to Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Miami, Cleveland, Baltimore and evenutally, the musical's hometown, Buffalo.
Anderson, who leads the cast as Jerry Lukowski, played Mark in Rent on Broadway and Roger on the national tour. A Tony winner for Dreamgirls, Derricks takes the role of the "big black man" Noah "Horse" Simmons. Westenberg, playing the uptight Harold Nichols, was Tony nominated as Cinderella's Prince/the Wolf in Into the Woods, one of his many Broadway musicals including 1776, The Secret Garden, Les Miserables and Sunday in the Park with George.
Most recently on Broadway in the Roundabout's starry Folliesrevival, Woods' credits include Smokey Joe’s Café, Steppin’Out, The Goodbye Girl, Grind, Big River and an Olivier-nominated turn in London's Blues in the Night. She plays Jeannette, the strippers' crusty rehearsal pianist.
Joining them are Aaron Lohr (Buddy "Keno" Walsh), Jennifer Naimo (Georgie Bukatinsky), Dale Hensley (Reg Willoughby), Michael J. Todaro (Dave Bukatinsky), Geoffrey Nauftts (Malcolm MacGregor), Christopher Hanke (Ethan Girard), Bret Fox and Brett Murray (Nathan Lukowski), Victoria Matlock (Susan Hershey), Kimberly Harris (Joanie Lish), Whitney Allen (Pam Lukowski), Paige DuBois Wolff (Estelle Genovese), Diana Pappas (Molly MacGregor), Heidi Blickenstaff (Vicki Nichols), Troy Britton Johnson (Teddy), Milton Craig Nealy (Police Sergeant), Leo Daignault (Minister) and Erick Buckley (Tony Giordano). David Patrick Ford, Christine Hudman, Brad Sharp and David A. White are the swings.
Sept. 3, the company returns to the United States to play Costa Mesa's Orange County Performing Arts Center through Sept. 15. The rest of the announced tour dates follow:
Sept. 17-Oct. 13: San Francisco, CA, Orpheum Theatre
Oct. 15-20: San Diego, CA, Civic Theatre
Oct. 22-Nov. 3: Denver, CO, Buell Auditorium
Nov. 5-17: Sacramento, CA, Community Center Theatre
Nov. 19-Dec. 8: Seattle, WA, 5th Avenue Theatre
Dec. 10-15: Tempe, AZ, Gammage Auditorium
Dec. 17-22: Tuscon, AZ, Centennial Hall
Dec. 24-29: Richmond, VA, Landmark Theatre
Dec. 31-Jan. 5, 2003: Philadelphia, PA, Merriam Theatre
Jan. 7-12, 2003: Pittsburgh, PA, Heinz Hall
Jan. 14-19, 2003: Hartford, CT, The Bushnell
Jan. 21-26, 2003: New Orleans, LA, Saenger Theatre
Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2003: Orlando, FL, Bobb Carr Auditorium
Feb. 4-9, 2003: Ft. Meyers, FL, Barbara Mann Auditorium
Feb. 11-16, 2003: Jacksonville, FL, Times Union Auditorium
Feb. 18-23, 2003: Tampa, FL, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
Feb. 25-March 2, 2003: Miami, FL, Jackie Gleason Theatre
March 4-9, 2003: Norfolk, VI, Chrysler Hall
March 11-16, 2003: Raleigh, NC, BTI Center
March 18-23, 2003: Rochester, NY, Auditorium Theatre
March 25-April 6, 2003: Cleveland, OH, Palace Theatre
April 8-13, 2003: Green Bay, WI, Weidner Center
April 15-27, 2003: St. Louis, MO, Fox Theatre
April 29-May 4, 2003: Birmingham, AL, Civic Center
May 6-11, 2003: Baltimore, MD, Morris Mechanic Theatre
May 13-18, 2003: Buffalo, NY, Shea's Buffalo
May 20-25, 2003: Columbus, OH, Palace Theatre
May 27-June 1, 2003: Memphis, TN, Orpheum Theatre
June 3-8, 2003: Kansas City, MO, Music Hall
June 10-29, 2003: St. Paul, MN, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
"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 who beats the stuffing out of homophobic Jerry, and the guys' rehearsal pianist, Jeanette, whose shining moment is "Jeanette's Showbiz Number."
Yazbek's score also includes "Scrap," "Man," "Big Ass Rock," "Big Black Man," 'Life With Harold," "You Rule My World," "Michael Jordan's Ball," "Breeze Off the River," "The Goods," "You Walk With Me" and "Let It Go." A CD of the original Broadway cast was released by RCA Victor Dec. 12, 2000.
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. The Full Monty received ten Tony nominations including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Director.