Friday, February 28, 2020

The Full Monty Is Played Out


The Full Monty


(L-R) Jackson Thea, Stephen Kanaski, Chris Plank, James Schott, Arthur Scappaticci and Albert Hodge

Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek
Book by Terrence McNally

Direction & Choreography by Leslie Waggoner
Musical Direction by Jon Gallo

Bay Area Musicals
Victoria Theatre, San Francisco

Until March 15, 2020

Reviewed by Christine Okon

The 1997 British comedy film “The Full Monty,” about six unemployed factory workers who go all in to win money and self respect by becoming strippers, is full of charm, poignancy, and humor. The 2000 Americanized musical version, despite being nominated for several Tony awards in 2001, hasn’t aged well. Maybe it’s the times, maybe it’s the cliche-stuffed script, but Bay Area Musical’s production of “The Full Monty” loses momentum after the hot-pulsed opening strip tease by Julio Chavez as the sexy “Keno.”

(L-R) Christopher Apy, Chris Plank, Jackson Thea, and Adrienne Herro

Jerry Lukowski (James Schott, who tries hard and could use more voice training) is the de facto leader of a group of Buffalo steel workers wandering in the purgatory of the unemployed and disenfranchised. When he witnesses how excited his wife Pam (Desiree Juanes) and her friends become at a male Chippendales-style strip show, he hatches the idea that he, or any other man for that matter, could win money and adulation by becoming a stripper too. Fueled by his fantasy and his desire to win over his son Nathan (Christopher Apy), Jerry recruits other guys to join him, but the idea of stripping in front of a female audience triggers deep insecurities of competence, age, and body image, such as when Jerry’s overweight pal Dave Bukatisky (a lovable Chris Plank) balks at the prospect and veers toward the safe security guard job he thinks his wife prefers. 


(L-R) Front: Stephen Kanaski, Arthur Scappaticci, Albert Hodge
Rear: L-R) Back: Jackson Thea and Chris Plank 

What slows down “The Full Monty” is its predictability; one must sit through the dated, weighty script and male-female cliches to reach the end scene which, although fun, is a great relief.
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Bay Area Musicals has a great track record for its wonderful musical productions, but unfortunately, “The Full Monty” falls flat.

"The Full Monty" Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek, Book by Terrence McNally, Direction & Choreography by Leslie Waggoner, Bay Area Musicals, Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street, San Francisco. Until March 15, 2020. Info: BAMsf.org

ALL PHOTOS by Ben Krantz Studio

CAST
Jerry Lukowski, James Schott
Nathan Lukowski, Christopher Apy
Pam Lukowski, Desiree Juanes
Teddy/Repo Man/Gary, Blake Weaver
Dave Bukatinsky, Chris Plank
Georgie Bukatinsky, Briel Pomerantz
Harold Nichols, Arthur Scappaticci
Vicki Nichols, Adrienne Herro
Malcolm Macgregor, Jackson Thea
Ethan Girard, Stephen Kanaski
Noah Simmons, Albert Hodge
Jeanette/Molly, Michelle Ianiro
Keno/Dance Instructor/Police Sergeant, Julio Chavez
Reg/Minister, David Richardson
Estelle Genovese, Jill Jacobs
Joanie/Betty, Shauna Satnick
Susan/Other Woman, Pauli N. Amornkul

ARTISTIC TEAM
Leslie Waggoner, Director/Choreographer
Jon Gallo, Music Director
Genevieve Pabon, Stage Manager
Frank Cardinale, Assnt. Stage Manager
Harley Greene, Assnt. Stage Manager
Matthew McCoy, Set Designer
Brooke Jennings, Costume Designer
Eric Johnson, Lighting Designer
Anton Hedman, Sound Designer
Tom O’Brien, Prop Designer
Stewart Lyle, Set Consultant & Technical Director
Jai Cha, Sound Board Op
Cat Knight, Production Manager
Alex Herlihy, Production/Marketing Intern

ORCHESTRA
Guitar: Jonathan Salazar
Bass: Kyle Wong
Drums: Kirk Duplantis
Key 2: John Conway
Key 1: Jon Gallo

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