Porchlight Players present ‘The Full Monty’ in Eagle
VAIL CO, Colorado
Pants will fall to the floor at Eagle’s Brush Creek Pavilion when the Porchlight Players perform “The Full Monty” starting Friday.
The show is a musical adaptation from the 1997 British movie of the same name. As Porchlight’s third annual Valentine’s Dinner Theater production, the show runs Friday through Sunday, Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 15-17. Doors open for dinner at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 each and include dinner, dessert, three drinks (beer, wine or soft drinks) and the show.
“The Full Monty” tells the story of six men who lost their jobs at a factory to a bad economy. The Chippendales come to town, and Jerry gets the idea that if he could get some guys together, they could earn an easy $50,000 in one night if they put on a Chippendales-like show. The ladies of the town let them know that they don’t have what it takes to sell tickets, so Jerry promises they’ll strip down all the way – The Full Monty.
Ticket sales boom while the guys each grapple with their own fears and insecurities. None of them are completely sure they can do the show. It all comes down to the last night – will they really go The Full Monty?
Meanwhile, the back story comes down to relationships. Traditional roles are challenged as the wives are working while their husbands stay home idle. Friendships are formed through the mutual experience of unemployment and cemented by the bond of setting a goal and achieving it. Marriage survives the personal and professional failures each partner brings to it, and ultimately the men bare feelings and truths they have kept hidden for a long time.
So, will the night really end with a bunch of naked men on stage? You’ll just have to see for yourself at the Brush Creek Pavilion. (Note: Even though the cast includes 13-year-old Keith Buckelew of Gypsum, parents should think twice about bringing children.)
A guy story
“I think some guys will come kicking and screaming, dragged in by their wives and girlfriends, and will leave stoked – it really is more of a guy’s story,” said Lance Schober, who plays Malcolm, one of the would-be stripteasers.
To prepare for the inevitable, the male cast members have spent hours rehearsing in their underwear in the basement of Alpine Bank in Eagle.
“We’re going through the same thing as the characters,” said Bart Garton, who plays Jerry. “We’re not perfect male specimens, either, and we were not psyched about stripping. At our first rehearsal, we wanted to put it off and learn the dance moves first, but the girls were like, ‘No, no, no – you should start getting comfortable with this now.'”
“Rehearsing in boxers has been awkward,” Schober said. “The ladies have been loving our discomfort.”
Irish Boston, who plays Jerry’s girlfriend, Estelle, said that has indeed been the case.
“We are enjoying the tables turning on the objectification,” Boston said. “You will still see plenty of women in tight pants and short skirts, though.”
Didi Doolittle, who plays Jerry’s ex-wife, Pam, mentioned another role-reversal that happens in a scene where the guys are looking at women in a magazine.
“They’re ranking the women based on physical attributes and it occurs to them that women will soon be looking at them in the same way, which makes them self conscious about their own looks,” Doolittle said.
“It also illustrates how we can drive ourselves crazy with what we think of ourselves when no one is saying anything,” Boston said.
The entire cast agreed that the show is not so much about stripping as much as six men coming to grips with their personal problems.
“It’s more about relationships and how men feel when women are bringing in the money,” said Rodney Johnson, who plays another would-be stripper named Horse. “I think a lot of guys can relate to where the story is going.”
Johnson hasn’t acted since high school but he is a natural, Boston and Doolittle said.
“He was recruited and took to it like a fish in water,” Boston said.
That’s impressive, considering the first-time community theater member is one of the ones dropping trou.
“I might read the script more carefully next time,” he joked.
Johnson lives and manages Los Amigos restaurant in Vail, which he said could bring some upvalley people to Eagle.
“My boss and friends already have tickets,” he said. He’s known Garton for a long time and was brought on board for a specific part.
“I was type-cast,” he said chuckling. “(Garton) told me it was a necessity. My mom had never heard of the movie. She asked me why I would agree to do a story about a black guy looking for a job and I tried to explain to her it wasn’t about that.”
Johnson’s dancing is on the beat and he has a worthy singing voice but he doesn’t consider himself a singer.
“There’s been a lot of singing in the car on the way to work,” he said.
Buckelew, the 13-year-old cast member, is another new Porchlight Player. He participated in Porchlight’s summer children’s theater camp for several years and Director Ann Olin asked him to play the part of Nathan during last summer’s camp.
Regarding Buckelew’s character, who is Jerry’s son, it sounded like he could relate.
“I really don’t want to see my dad strip but I’m also proud of him,” he said.
Will he walk the wall?
In the movie, there’s a character named Ethan who claims he can “walk the wall.” The stunt is a backflip done by springing off of a perpendicular surface.
Porchlight actor Chris Keys has been practicing the move.
“There have been some crashes,” he said. “But we might do it for the show. And there might be some crashes in the show.”
Either way, those who bear witness to “The Full Monty” are sure to be entertained and potentially surprised.