After this last, nearly nudity-free season, it's comforting to know that Broadway will bare itself again. This time, Broadway will get its barings in the form of the lovable losers in The Full Monty. The new musical moves to New York City Sept. 26 with an opening set for Oct. 26. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre -- which just evicted the elderly ladies of Waiting in the Wings -- will host the strippers.
According to an Old Globe press representative, the show's book writer, Terrence McNally, will be in as early as next week to retool 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 show had been sold. In fact, demand for the show has been so high, the Old Globe is extending the run a week, through July 9.
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 ("Full Monty" refers to a British term meaning 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. 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 struts his moves, "You Walk With Me," a love song for Malcolm (Danieley) and Ethan (Floyd Collins' Romain Fruge) 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!.
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.
000 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.