Some Broadway shows wait until they’re on their last legs to announce national tour plans, but not The Full Monty. The hot tuner, which opened only a month and a half ago, has just announced its North American Tour plans, to begin May 22, 2001 in Toronto, Canada, according to production spokespersons at Barlow-Hartman.
Produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Lindsay Law and Thomas Hall, in association with Ed and David Mirvish, the tour will also reach Chicago, Washington, Bston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver. Casting isn’t expected until Spring 2001, when tickets go onsale for the Toronto engagement.
John Ellison Conlee, Jason Danieley, Andre De Shields, Kathleen Freeman, Romain Fruge, Marcus Neville and Patrick Wilson star in The Full Monty, which recently released its original cast recording CD on RCA/Victor. 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 David Yazbek and Billy Straus produced with the show's musical director, Ted Sperling, co producing. This will not be Yazbek's first time on record nor his first time producing. The 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 Full Monty is his first musical theatre score.
Also in the 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 and 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.