“Full Monty” Fully Enjoyable at Wick Theatre
By Skip Sheffield
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, as the old says goes.
The phenomenon of male strip-teasing coincided with the rise of women’s liberation. Why should men have a monopoly on ogling the opposite sex?
And so began “Ladies Night Out.” Chippendale’s, the first and best-known of the male revues formed in 1979, was comprised mostly of professional dancers in prime physical condition.
The main joke of “The Fully Monty,” which began as a 1997 British film comedy set in the former steel town center of Sheffield, England, was that an ordinary bunch of blokes would go circumspect Chippendale’s one better by going the “full monty,” or completely naked.
“The Full Monty’ became a stage musical in 2000, with book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by David Yazbek. A locally-sourced version of the show is now in residence at the Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, through March 23.
If anything the stage version is an improvement over the movie. The book, by much-honored four-time Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally, is more compact and moving. The music, by David Yazbek (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) amplifies and improves upon the movie soundtrack.
The stage version has been Americanized and moved to another faded industrial town, Buffalo, New York. Michael Orozco plays the designated hunk, professional stripper Buddy “Keno” Walsh.
It is Orozco who gets the ladies going during the overture, strutting his stuff. The main character is Jerry Lukowski, an out-of-work steel mill worker played by Preston Ellis. Jerry is a rugged Everyman kind of guy driven to desperation by his financial situation. The rest of the male cast is various types. Reggie Whitehead is the smooth black dude. JP Sarro is the reluctant fatty. Barry Tarallo is the older guy with a beautiful voice.
“The Full Monty” has a large cast, half of whom are female. It’s fun watching the women playing audience members egging on the guys to take it off.
In the final analysis there is nothing obscene or even shocking about “The Fully Monty” under the direction of Dom Ruggiero. There is a reason it is called strip “tease.” If it’s a fun evening you seek with a wink and a nod, Wick Theatre’s “Full Monty” fills the bill.
Tickets are $58 general admission or $52 group. Call 561-995-2333 or go to www.thewick.org.