You may even say it’s a booty-ful musical.
There, I think I got that out of my system. It’s hard (oops, sorry) not to pound the pun with a comely comedy this bent on being bawdy. For cryin’ out loud, the show opens with a Chippendales-esque strip act. Parental discretion is advised.
Based on the hit 1997 British movie, the stage musical has been moved from Sheffield, England, to Buffalo, N.Y. But the story survived the trip across the pond with a script by Terrence McNally and a score by David Yazbek, both serviceable.
“The Full Monty” follows six down-on-their-luck steelworkers. Desperate for a paycheck after the steel mill closes, they come up with a plan to make some money by forming a strip act for a one-night-only performance at a local club. After the ringleader, Jerry Lukowski (Preston Ellis), realizes that the sexy-deficient dudes can’t possibly compete with the buffed-bronzed-boys of Chippendales, he impulsively announces that his pseudo strippers will go all the way, the full monty as it were.
In both the screen version and here with the Broadway version (which opened in 2000 and ran for two years before moving to London’s West End), the story touches on some serious topics. In between backslapping and playful punching, the characters are dealing with depression, body imaging, impotence, homosexuality, child custody and suicide.
Director Dom Ruggiero keeps the show moving with slick pacing as long as he can. But late in the second act, you may be tempted to hit the delete button on a ballad or two to shorten a few inches..er, I mean…minutes, off the two-hour-and-15-minute show with a 15-minute intermission.
The production is lavishly staged, from the sets of color-blocked sliding panels to the step-step-thrust and basketball-injected choreography. The show is even particularly well lit. Yazbek should stuff $100 bills into the cast’s G-strings for so effectively pepping up his score, even with a digital “orchestra” playing under them.
And yet acting-wise, there are moments that come off a bit perfunctory, giving performances a slightly undersold and undercooked air. So much so that the been-there-done-that piano player Jeanette Burmeister (Leslie Anne Wolfe) almost walks off with the whole show in what is the funniest bit: the auditions for strippers.
And she doesn’t remove a stitch.
IF YOU GO
“The Full Monty”
When: Through March 23; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. matinees Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays
Where: The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton
Contact: 561-995-2333 or TheWick.org.