Helpful tips for neophyte strippers.
1. Remember to take off your work boots before your trousers.
2. When whipping off your belt be careful not to lash out the eye of the stripper on your right.
3. When in doubt, ask yourself: What would Michael Jordon do?
And if you are wondering what all this has to do with the price of beer in Buffalo, you need to go to the Acrosstown Repertory Theater for answers.
The ART’s production of “The Full Monty,” Terrance McNally’s musical based on the hit 1997 movie, is running through April 3. And under the artful direction of Jackie Collins, it is an energetic comedy of errors about men wondering what’s happened to their worlds, women who have suddenly become the men of their houses…and an adolescent boy who must surely be having second thoughts about growing up.
This is not to say that it is a flawless production. None of these guys are gonna’ make it to “Dancing With The Stars.” And from time to time voices tend to crack like Dresden China in a bull shop.
But they’ve got game. And these actors are all-in when it comes to strutting their stuff.
Long story short, paunchy beer drinkers lose their jobs at a Buffalo steel plant.
Their wives and ex-wives, now working women, have discovered their inner female empowerment.
And while the men languish in depression and toy with thoughts of suicide, the women discover “girls night out,” and like to unwind by stuffing dollar bills into Chippendale G-strings.
Listen, the guys still think Chip and Dale are a couple of cartoon rodents. But then they find out just how much money can be made shedding layers, and inhibitions, in front of screaming women clutching wads of long green.
We’ve seen Wilfredo Jose Gonzalez on the ART stage before. He’s hitting his stride as Jerry Lukowski – the mastermind behind the, um, unveiling of the not-ready-for-Chippendales.
Problem is, Lukowski hasn’t done anything right since high school. His ex-wife Pam (Kaylene Sattanno) is about to get hitched to a guy who is the anti-Jerry. And behind in child support, he may lose partial custody of his kid Nathan, who seems increasingly embarrassed to be seen with the old man anyway.
Patch Ford is terrific as Nathan, determined against all odds to raise his father to be a responsible adult (young Ford has a worthy pedigree, his real-life father once performed with a touring “Full Monty” troupe).
Then there’s Jerry’s pal Dave (think the Pillsbury Dough Boy about to turn mall cop). Will Bradley Allan Searles’ Dave be willing to let it all out when the crunch comes? After all, he has a lot to let out.
Unemployment has Dave doubting his manhood, so he can’t be intimate with wife Georgie. But, Georgie, a very saucy Mallory Rubek, is feeling her oats as the new breadwinner. And she wants some action.
Also stepping up and stripping down are:
Blake Matchett’s Ethan, who never met a wall he could run up…but keeps trying anyway.
Sean Cunningham’s Malcolm, desperate to get out from under his domineering mother’s tender clutches and proud possessor of a “pigeon chest.”
Brandon Lee’s Noah, aka a man called Horse (don’t ask).
And Jeffrey Stevens’ Harold, a former exec who is so in awe of his overbearing wife that he’s afraid to tell her he’s an ex-exec. As it turns out, wife Vicki, the always formidable ART regular Andrea Young, has a few things to teach Malcom about life, dancing and intestinal fortitude.
The running gag, of course, is whether or not these guys are gonna go the “Fully Monty” when they finally hit the stage. And the answer is….
For show times and ticket information go to the ART’s web page.