Full Monty Takes Off Saturday at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre

In entertainment, Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
We’ve all been there – needing some quick cash, thrashing about for ideas on how to get it – but how many of us have decided to put on a strip show?

It’s a story many people enjoyed in the 1997 movie The Full Monty. Now adapted as a musical, it opens at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre Friday.

Director and choreographer Julie Tomaino said this week that this treatment involves many changes (such as moving the setting from the UK to the US), but fans of the movie will enjoy spotting a number of references to the original. And everyone will identify with much of the story, regardless of their background.

Tomaino spoke of the vulnerability of the characters as they face individual struggles, such as keeping the wolf from the door and being badly remiss on child support. A strip show seems to be an easy and quick way to make a bundle.

But much of the story is in the lead-up, as they face what their plan entails – having to expose themselves emotionally as well as physically brings home the fears, prejudices and self-consciousness they will have to get beyond.

“Throughout the show, you see all these beautiful story lines of the men trapped in society’s stereotype of what it is to be a man. It’s really awesome to see how they fight against that and embrace their vulnerability,” Tomaino said.

By the final scene, show time, “it’s more than just taking off their clothes. It’s a beautiful moment of celebration and community and collaboration. I have never addressed something like this final number. It’s not about that, at that moment – it’s also exciting for the audience, wondering, ‘Are they actually going to do it?”

Working on The Full Monty was Tomaino’s first experience choreographing a strip show – though the Port Hope production is not her first time working on The Full Monty. She also was involved in a production for Halifax’s Neptune Theatre.

The choreography challenges have to do with the actors who were cast for their skills at portraying blue-collar guys, as opposed to trained and experienced dancers.

“I am not necessarily getting the cream-of-the-crop dancers, but that’s not what the show requires,” she said.

While the cast includes one “quite good” dancer, “all the other guys come from various danceabilities.

“They are not men who are necessarily trained in dance, but that’s part of the fun – to watch somebody struggle to learn how to do a move and achieving something.”

Tomaino describes her task as “making choreography accessible for all these body types and body limitations, but that’s also the fun of this choreography – making them look good and feel good onstage, and making it fun for the audience.”

And the soundtrack from the 1997 movie has been updated, so anyone who loved the movie will enjoy an entirely new experience.

“I love working with this cast and team – the set designer, the costume designer, music director, stage manager, my assistant,” she said.

“All these people have been great collaborators, with great support from the cast themselves – they bring joy into the room.”

These cast members are Gaelan Beatty as Jerry, Darren Burkett as Ethan, Autumn-Joy Dames as Estelle, August Fox as Nathan, Donna Garner as Jeanette, Gavin Hope as Horse, Julia Juhas as Vicki and Jacob MacInnes as Malcolm.

The Full Monty will be at the Capitol Theatre through July 28, and tickets are available at the Capitol box office as well as on the theatre’s website.

The Full Monty stars Gaelen Beatty, Darren Burkett, Autumn Joy Dames, August Fox, Donna Garner, Gavin Hope, Julia Juhas, Jacob MacInnis, Jamie McRoberts, Ian Simpson, Tahirih Vejdani, Alex Wierzbicki, and Daniel Williston.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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