The Full Monty (musical)
|The Full Monty|
|Basis||Film The Full Monty|
2002 West End
2009 West End revival
|Awards||Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music|
In this Americanized musical stage version adapted from the 1997 British film of the same name, six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. One of them, Jerry, declares that their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they'll go "the full monty"—strip all the way. As they prepare for the show, working through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties, they overcome their inner demons and find strength in their camaraderie.
The musical had its world premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego from June 1 through July 9, 2000. The production opened on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on October 26, 2000 and closed on September 2002, after 770 performances and 35 previews. The musical was directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, with musical direction by Ted Sperling, sets by John Arnone, lighting by Howell Binkley, and costumes by Robert Morgan. The opening night cast included Patrick Wilson, André DeShields, John Ellison Conlee, Jason Danieley, Marcus Neville, Kathleen Freeman, Denis Jones, Emily Skinner, and Annie Golden. Jane Connell replaced Freeman when she died during the run.
The musical premiered in the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre in March 2002 and closed on November 23, 2002. The cast included original Broadway cast members Jason Danieley, Andre De Shields, John Ellison Conlee, Romain Frugé and Marcus Neville, with Dora Bryan featured as Jeanette Burmeister and Jarrod Emick as Jerry. The production won the London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical. A production directed by Thom Southerland ran at the Broadway Studio in Catford, south east London, in November 2009 and then transferred to the West End at the New Players Theatre in December 2009.
While relocated to Buffalo, New York, the musical closely follows the film.
In depressed Buffalo, New York, the once-successful steel mills have grown brown with rust, rolling equipment has been removed, and the lines are silent. Best friends Jerry Lukowski and Dave Bukatinsky, along with the other unemployed mill workers, collect unemployment checks and ponder their lost lives, describing themselves as "Scrap". Elsewhere, Dave's wife Georgie and her friends are celebrating a night on the town by attending a Chippendales performance. With their newfound independence and wealth as the sole earners of their families, they declare "It's a Woman's World".
While hiding in the bathroom of the strip club, Jerry and Dave hear how unhappy Georgie is over Dave's insecurities (in part because of his weight) and Pam, Jerry's ex-wife, laments the loss of her marriage and her plans to take court action against him for the child support payments that he's failed to make since losing his job. Compromising the situation further is Jerry's son, Nathan, who reluctantly spends time with him; he has grown tired of his father's seeming lack of motivation.
After talking to the stripper in the Chippendales act, Jerry and Dave are intrigued by the women's willingness to pay for a striptease act. Jerry is convinced that his ship has finally come in: he decides to organize a similar act of his own, with the intent to earn enough money to pay for his child support obligations ("Man").
The first to join the act is gauche and lonely Malcolm, a security guard at the steel mill where Dave and Jerry once worked. Malcolm tries to commit suicide by asphyxiating himself in his car through carbon monoxide poisoning. Dave pulls him out, and Jerry and Dave discuss various methods to commit suicide, for example: "A Big-Ass Rock". Malcolm ultimately joins in and with the reassurance of his new-found friends behind him, he joins the fledgling lineup. His rescue and inclusion in the group gives him a newly optimistic and confident outlook on life. He also starts to grow more independent from his domineering, invalid mother, Molly.
Next on Dave and Jerry's list is their former foreman, the middle-class aspirant Harold Nichols, who is taking a ballroom dance class with his immaculately groomed wife, Vicki. While Harold explains that he has concealed his unemployment from his materialistic wife, Vicki blithely sings about her sweet "Life with Harold". Dave and Jerry tell him of their scheme; with literally no options left, Harold agrees to be the act's choreographer.
In a sequence of scenes, former co-workers perform strip-tease auditions. One of the auditionees is invited to sit down after he flunks; he declines, saying that his children are outside waiting 'in the car' and that 'this is no place for kids' before glancing over at Nathan before leaving. Other auditioners are however hired: Noah 'Horse' Simmons for his comprehensive dance knowledge (while overlooking evidence of advanced arthritis) and urban legend in the case of "Big Black Man", Ethan Girard, who longs to dance like Donald O'Connor in "Singin' in the Rain" and has a jaw-dropping, euphemism-inducing penis. They are also joined by Jeanette Burmeister, a tough, seen-it-all showbiz musician who "shows up, piano and all" to accompany the boys' rehearsals.
Elsewhere, Dave contemplates his weight and Harold contemplates Vicki's spending habits, commenting they "Rule My World". At the first rehearsal, Harold feels the men are hopeless, but Jerry fires them up, encouraging them to think of it not as dance, but as sports moves (Michael Jordan's Ball).
As the men practice, doubts continue to creep in about whether this is the best way to make some money, due to their individual insecurities over their appearances. Jeanette is particularly straightforward ("Jeanette's Showbiz Number").
Requiring a deposit at the club, Jerry tries to get seed money from Pam, which she denies. Nathan eventually provides some college funds, and Jerry is moved by Nathan's growing belief in his father ("Breeze Off the River").
Later, as the men are rehearsing at Harold's house, they undress in front of each other for the first time, and have nightmare visions that the women of the town will find "The Goods" will be inadequate. They are interrupted by repossessors who are scared off by the scantily clad men; their mutual friendships continue to grow.
During a dress rehearsal, the boys get literally caught with their pants down wearing thongs, causing Jerry, Horse, Harold, Jeanette, and Nathan to be brought into a police station. Malcolm and Ethan successfully escape, and fall into a homoerotic embrace after they climb through the window of Malcolm's house. They are interrupted by the sudden illness of Molly.
After Pam tearfully picks up Nathan ("Man, reprise"), the men are approached on the street by local women acquaintances who have heard of their show. Jerry declares that their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they'll go "the full monty"—strip all the way. Dave, meanwhile, quits less than a week before the show, deprecating himself as a 'fat bastard' whom no one would want to see in the nude—including his wife, Georgie.
They boys are brought together at the funeral of Malcolm's mother, where he is joined by Ethan in subtly announcing their relationship—"You Walk with Me".
Their secret out, all seems lost for the members of Hot Metal—their "stage name". But Georgie and Vicki reconfirm their love for their husbands despite their failures ("You Rule My World, reprise"). It is also revealed the arrest publicity has spiked ticket sales.
With not much left to lose, and a sold-out show, the men decide to go for it for one night, including Harold, who has finally gotten a job. Dave finds his confidence and joins the rest of the group, but Jerry has a last minute loss of his. Nathan convinces him to go on and he joins the boys for the final performance. With the support of all the friends, family, and townspeople, the boys "Let It Go!"
Original Broadway production
In 2003 the musical was translated to Danish and played at the closed down Tuborg Brewery botteling plant in Copenhagen and the story changed to the men being let off from Brewers. The role of Jerry (renamed Jesper in Danish) was played by the actor/comedian Peter Mygind. The Musical ran from October 30 until December 20 2003.
A production opened in the Czech Republic in Liberec in 2005. The show translated literally as Donaha! is currently played in 3 different theatres in Czech Republic.
The South African production starring Judy Page as Janet Burmeister, played in Cape Town (Artscape Theatre) and Johannesburg (The Johannesburg Civic Theatre) from July – October 2008. Page won the Naledi Theatre Award for best Actress in a Musical. It was directed by David Bowns and produced by Creative Entertainment. 
A production ran between 2009 and 2010 in The Netherlands, and an Italian version toured Italy over 2013. A Philippine version of the Musical was staged at the RCBC Plaza which starred singer-actor Mark Bautista, comedian Arnel Ignacio, Marco Sison, OJ Mariano, and Jamie Wilson.
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