Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Apr 19th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Full Disclosure

ae_Monty1Cabrillo Stage's fun, raucous 'Full Monty' delivers the goods
As a property, “The Full Monty” is not for the fainthearted. A live stage musical based on the 1997 film of the same name about laid-off factory workers who produce a full frontal male strip act to raise some cash and reclaim their manhood, it's peppered with profanity, features various degrees of nudity, and demands plenty of singing, dancing and chutzpah from its actors. Any company that dares to put this show on the boards had better have the goods to back it up.

Fortunately, Cabrillo Stage makes all the right moves in its ambitious and entertaining production of “The Full Monty,” the first of three shows in its 30th anniversary summer season. A lively cast, er, rises to the occasion in every respect, under the bold and thoughtful direction of Dustin Leonard. Andrew Ceglio's choreography maintains a level of breezy audacity in the bump-and-grind numbers, but also creates specific movement for each character that helps define their personalities over the course of the show, especially the male characters nervous about their upcoming revelations; we can see them literally loosening up as the story progresses. Skip Epperson's inventive factory wall set reveals an evolving series of indoor and outdoor spaces. The live orchestra under the baton of conductor Jon Nordgren was a bit uneven on opening night, especially in the overtures, but they should tighten up during the run of the show.

ae_Monty2With a smart book by veteran playwright Terrence McNally and buoyant pop songs by David Yazbek, the stage production relocates the film story from the depressed north of England to equally depressed Buffalo, N.Y., where laid-off workers are scrambling to pay their bills and cling to their self-esteem after months of unemployment. Chief among these is Jerry Lukowski, played with caustic humor and heart by the dynamic Kyle Payne. A fast-talking, good-hearted screw-up who can't keep up child support payments to his estranged wife, Pam (a sympathetic Jessica Payne, Kyle's real-life wife), Jerry is in danger of losing co-custody of the 12-year-old son he adores, Nathan (an appealing Darwin Garrett).

As the show opens, the ladies of the town (all still employed, and supporting their husbands) are getting raucous at a local night spot over a touring group of male Chippendale strippers. (Josh Saleh is great sexy fun as the deadpan professional peeler whose act opens the show.) Meanwhile, Jerry and his buddies are bemoaning their marked-down status as former breadwinners in the vigorous ensemble number, “Scrap.” When Jerry and his chubby best pal, Dave (a funny and poignant Kevin High), sneak into the club via the men's bathroom and overhear their womenfolk raving about the show, Jerry hatches the scheme to put on their own strip act. The hook is, they'll be “real men” (i.e. straight and un-buffed) performing for their women.

Much of the story revolves around the challenges facing each participant. Dave not only has weight issues (he even sings a funny counterpoint to the love song, “You Rule My World,” to his stomach), he’s also been too depressed to “perform” with his frisky, devoted wife, Georgie (a boisterous Robin DiCello). Former shop foreman, Harold (Darin Dailey) still leaves for work every morning, afraid to tell his free-spending wife, Vicki (the scene-stealing Alice Hughes), he's lost his job. Timid Malcolm (Dan Housek, who has the sweetest singing voice in the group), still lives with his mother, and needs friends and a sense of independence.

Auditions also turn up an aging, black man called “Horse” (an exuberant Jarrod Washington, in his best Cabrillo Stage performance yet), whose soul/funk audition is a riot, despite a bum hip. Lovable young Ethan (an engaging Andrew Woodward-Willis) admits he's not much of a singer or dancer, but earns a spot in the revue thanks to his one singular asset; we don't actually see it, but the others' reaction—especially the frozen awe of Payne/Jerry's dumbstruck five-minute double-take—is the single funniest moment in the show. And the guys are egged on by rehearsal pianist Jeanette, played with brassy, showbizzy brio by Claire Hodgin.

Recommended for mature audiences, due to language and some nudity, “The Full Monty” is an outrageously funny show, one of the most successful productions in Cabrillo Stage history. But serious themes of tolerance, solidarity, and self image are also handled with crowd-pleasing dexterity—especially when Jerry rashly promises to deliver “the full monty” (complete public disclosure) in their act. The show-stopping ensemble number “The Goods” is all about measuring up to impossible standards. Another highlight (in a completely different vein) is Payne's tender solo “Breeze Off the River,” sung by Jerry to his sleeping son.

Which brings us to the grand finale, when we become the strip club audience. And, yes, this show delivers, albeit with some sneaky lighting effects. But, hey, that's why they call it striptease.


The Cabrillo Stage production of “The Full Monty” plays in repertoire through July 17, in the Crocker Theater, Cabrillo College. For more info, call 479-6154, or visit cabrillostage.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?