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THE FULL MONTY The Manny Fried Playhouse/Subversive Theatre
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Apr 15, 2018, 12:19
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Through May 12
THE FULL MONTY Subversive Theatre/The Manny Fried Playhouse

Get your tickets, now, for “The Full Monty.”
That’s Subversive Theatre’s annual “Workers Power Play Series,” this year the musical about laid-off steel plant workers right here, rather than the somewhat tendentious plays of some past years.
Terrence McNally and David Yazbek took the movie about laid off steelworkers in England’s historic steel center of Sheffield and turned it into a musical about laid-off steelworkers in Buffalo.
While the basic material is really strong, director Susan Forbes and choreographer Nancy Hughes have done an amazing job in the tiny Manny Fried Playhouse, which has 40-seats for this production.
That includes the nightclub seats and chairs on the floor for people who want to be up close and personal with the cast members and opening night they all seemed female.
That’s why there can’t be many tickets for this run.
The story is about depressed workers and an executive who see cash in a knock-off of the Chippendales (themselves), who will go all the way on their one-night stand, going the full monty, leaving as little to the imagination as some of the performers in Fort Erie’s “Canadian Ballet.”
The heart of the production is Anthony Alcocer’s Jerry Lukowski, a divorced ex-con who hasn’t been making his support payments and will lose joint custody of his son, Nathan (Alejandro Perez), to his ex-wife Pam (Katherine Parker) who is about to marry her live-in and prosperous boyfriend
Jerry’s best friend is Dave Bukatinski (Jeffrey Coyle) who hasn’t handled being laid-off well and it’s destroying his marriage to Georgie (Alley Griffin) and doesn’t want to take a low-wage security job in the Boulevard Mall.
Jerry and Dave discover their women and their friends like to hit strip clubs and Jerry comes up with an idea for them to be strippers.
Obviously, that isn’t the strong suit of the two and the four others they recruit, like Horse (Alfonzo Tyson) with his bad hip or former steel plant executive Harold Nichols (Thomas LaChiusa), who hasn’t told wife Vicki (Jamie Nablo) he’s long-since lost his executive post, not good for a Wharton MBA.
The music is strongly threaded through “Full,” to be expected from a pro like Terrence McNally.
The key song which sets the stage is “Scrap,” the initiating song which makes it clear the future dancers regard themselves as human scrap, left behind by industry.
As with most of the show, Jerry is the key character and Alcocer, yet again, is amazing, both with small numbers like “Breeze Off The River” and big production numbers like “Michael Jordan’s Ball,” with the boys and “The Goods,” about the big plan.
This follows his dominant performance in “Jesus Christ Superstar” in ART’s equally small house on Amherst Street.
Coyle’s Dave is almost as strong as the laid-off mental burnout, with a wife who still loves him.
As the date for the show nears, a series of strong smaller parts surface, like Pamela Rose Mangus’ Jeanette, the veteran music director, and Horse’s strong dancing.
Two of the performers, Malcolm (Tim Goehrig) and Ethan (Connor Graham), fall in love, in “You Walk With Me.”
It’s interesting the way the men see stripping as the way to get some quick cash to deal with immediate problems while the women have moved on in life from being wives of well-paid blue collar workers in a giant steel plant to being the sole support of one worker and the ex-wife of another.
There are those Boulevard Mall jobs.
The question suffusing the show isn’t whether or not the strip show will go ahead, because the entire plot of the show suggests it will.
Instead, it’s whether monty shows up.
And, that’s for you to find out.
And, you should really see “The Full Monty.”

A.W.

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