Gotta love these guys

Posted 10/7/08

“Do they really?” seems to be the most frequent question about “The Full Monty.” Well, yes they do “Let It Go,” but that’s not really …

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Gotta love these guys


“Do they really?” seems to be the most frequent question about “The Full Monty.” Well, yes they do “Let It Go,” but that’s not really the point of the musical, which plays through Oct. 26 at Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., downtown Littleton, directed and choreographed by the versatile Nick Schell.

Based on the popular British film about a group of unemployed U.K. workers who need to make some money to support their families, and recover self-esteem, this witty show was transported to depressed Buffalo, N.Y., when award-winning playwright Terrence McNally was hired to write a book for a musical, with score by Dave Yazbek.

Music director Donna Debreceni recorded the great score for the production, and I recognize that budget drove the decision to use canned music, but a live band adds so much energy to a production.

Although Sugar has staged many strong musicals in the area, including at Town Hall, the “energy shortage” seemed to extend to the cast, including lead Nick Madson, in his Denver debut as Jerry Lukowski. Perhaps the sound system was faulty, but it was hard to hear him sing at times, although it’s a small theater.

Jerry’s deep love for his teenage son Nathan (Heritage High sophomore Max Stewart) and his inability to make child support payments to his former wife lead him to desperation. It’s his idea to stage a strip show to earn money after he sees women, including wives, girlfriends and mothers flocking to see The Chippendales.

“It’s a Woman’s World,” they sing.

Jerry convinces a mixed group of out-of-work guys to try it after he finds out his boss, also unemployed, knows how to dance.

Dave Bukatinsky (Robert Michael Sanders) is Jerry’s overweight, depressed friend, who, like Jerry, refuses to take a job that doesn’t seem macho.

Dwayne Carrington is a standout as Horse, the senior member of the group; Ken Paul is the boss, Harold Nichols, who hasn’t told his free-spending wife that his job went away.

Philip Martin and Cameron Stevens connect as they get involved with the project and Deb Note-Farwell is a joy as the jaded piano accompanist who works with the guys. Her “Showbiz Number” opens Act II with a bang.

As a frustrated Nichols tries to teach this clutzy crew to dance, he is inspired to use a basketball metaphor. “Michael Jordan’s Ball” is an especially clever number.

This is a really entertaining musical and one suspects that since opening night, the cast has probably managed to blend and pick up steam, just as the characters in the story do as they support each other — which is the worthwhile point.

Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $19 to $36. 303-794-2787, ext. 5; Intended for age 17 and older.

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