Full Monty Preview

Ken AshfordLocal InterestLeave a Comment

Montyart_color_smallLink here, but I’ll reprint it below the fold….

Some thoughts about the article:

(1)  Obviously, the folks at the WInston-Salem Journal/Relish need to fix the headline, and I wish they would.

(2)  I’m not sure I agree with the quote of co-producer Norman Ussery, saying that, if this were a movie, it would be rated "R".  Okay, maybe — but a very tame R.  Or a high PG-13.   He intends to tell the audiences what they are in for, but it seems to me that audiences should know what to expect and what not to expect.  I have no problem with people not coming if they know that they will be offended by the subject matter or whatever, but really — if people are going to come to "The Full Monty" and then pull a Captain Renault ("I am shocked — shocked! — that there is profanity and some nudity!!!") then I have no sympathy for their letters and grumblings.

And it does, as Norman says, have its moments of poignancy mixed in with the humor.  I would even venture to say it has a healthy dose of, yes, family values.

By the way, for those in the area, this really is a good production of a very funny entertaining show.  And I am not saying that because I am in it (here and there).  It has come together quicker than any show I’ve been in, and while this week is devoted to ironing out technical aspects, the show itself is ready to roll.  We’ve got a kickass band, and exceptional performances.

Ticket information in the article below….

A Stripping Good Show Greensboro troupe joins Little Theatre for a summer musical that comes with a caveat – some people will fi
By Ken Keuffel
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Jerry Lukowski is bummed.

He is out of work, having been laid off at a steel mill in Buffalo, N.Y. And he fears that he will lose joint custody of his son, Nathan, because he’s falling behind on child-support payments.

Five of Jerry’s male friends are recently unemployed steelworkers, too, and face plenty of personal problems of their own. They feel like “scrap.”

What to do?

Jerry might just have the answer. He proposes that he and his buddies strip their way out of financial difficulties at a Chippendales dance club. They have entered middle age and it shows, so they’re hardly ideal material for Chippendales. But who cares? They can earn thousands of dollars in just one evening of baring it all.

That’s the gist of Terrence McNally’s The Fully Monty, from 2000, the hilarious, underdog-can-prevail musical derived from a British movie of the same name which was set in Sheffield, England.

The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem and the Community Theatre of Greensboro will present the show beginning Friday in the Arts Council Theatre. It will be the first time that the two organizations have collaborated on a production.

“This time of year, the audiences really like something in the way of a lighthearted musical,” said Norman Ussery, the Little Theatre’s executive director. “(This) takes an awful lot of people to pull together. In the summer, people don’t want to do a lot of work.

“So we have this large project that has to get done, without a lot of people willing to play. We thought if we did our summer musical in conjunction with the Greensboro Community Theatre, then we’d have twice as many people interested in participating.”

The result has been a 50-50 partnership, in terms of cast members, technical personnel and costs. In addition: “We’re getting twice as much done with half as many people,” Ussery said, pointing out that after Monty ends its run in Winston-Salem, on July 14, it will be presented July 20-29 at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro.

Director Jamie Lawson has been shuttling between rehearsals in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. He promised “a solid evening of fun.”

“It has moments that are poignant,” he said. “It has moments that are hysterical.… It’s one of those shows that has a little of everything.”

In this case, “everything” includes “adult language and content, including nudity,” elements that tend not to go over so well with Little Theatre’s conservative core patrons. Ussery said the company is making every effort to warn patrons about that. He called Monty “a special event,” something not included in the regular subscription packages.

“The audience is ready,” Ussery said. “But we’re hoping to not attract anyone who finds it offensive. We don’t expect to see the same audience that would come to The Sound of Music.

“This is an adult musical. If it were a movie, it would be rated R. If you don’t like an R-rated movie, you’re not going to like this. I intend to tell the audience that every night, before we start, because I don’t want any letters.”

Offended patrons who leave before the show begins will get refunds, he said.

Neil Shepherd, who plays Jerry Lukowski, applauded the Little Theatre’s efforts, saying there were only so many times you could see Oklahoma and the like.

“You’ve got Theatre Alliance producing edgy stuff,” he said. “Audiences are going because of it. Little Theatre is trying to keep up with that.”

That said, there’s nudity and then there’s nudity. Both Shepherd and Lawson suggested Monty’s would be of the more subtle variety.

“If things happen like they’re supposed to, you probably won’t see everything you’re expecting to,” Lawson said.

What’s most important about Monty is its theme. Jake Markley, 13, who plays Nathan Lukowski, said that his character is initially embarrassed by his dad’s idea. Then he comes to support him.

“You identify with these people,” Lawson said. “That’s what makes it such a neat show. They’re everyday guys who find themselves in a situation where they need money. A lot of us have been there before. You’re like, ‘What would I do to get out of this hole I’m in?’”

“You start thinking outside the box,” Lawson said. “You start thinking outside your clothes.”

■ The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem and the Community Theatre of Greensboro will present Terrence McNally’s The Full Monty beginning Friday in the Arts Council Theatre. Evening shows will be at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and July 12-14. The one matinee will be at 2 p.m. next Sunday. Tickets are $22, $20 for seniors and $18 for students; go www.little

theatreonline.com or call 336-721-4001. There will be a sneak preview performance at 8 p.m. Thursday, with open seating at $10. Greensboro performances of Monty will take place July 20-29 in the Carolina Theatre. For show times and tickets, call 336-333-2605.