Savanna native Darren Mangler in TLP's 'Full Monty'

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Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2018 9:38 am


Savanna High School graduate Darren Mangler is excited to be returning to Timber Lake Playhouse for "The Full Monty" which opens this week.

Raised in Savanna, Mangler, 46, has spent the last 21 years in Los Angeles pursuing his acting career. He received his first professional experience at TLP.

Mangler's first role at TLP was in 1988 when the theater needed a bass player. He then participated as an extra in "1776" at TLP. He ended up working at TLP for six summers.

During high school, Mangler was involved in drama, band, show choir pep choir, football, baseball, track and more. He graduated from Savanna High School in 1990.

After high school, Mangler attended Western Illinois University in Macomb, double majoring in acting and directing. It was there that he met Paul Stancato, who joined TLP this year as the new artistic director.

After graduating from WIU Mangler toured for two years with The Repertory Theater of America and the Missoula Children's Theater. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he has made a living booking national commercials, TV shows and movies.

His award-winning short film "The Whole Person" is on YouTube and his web series "2 for Stew" was Biggest Trend for 10 straight weeks on Funny or Die. He is currently touring his stand-up comedy show, "Stay Fat."

"He's a multifaceted individual," Stancato said about Mangler.

Throughout the years, Mangler has thought about returning to TLP, but has never been able to work it into his schedule. When he heard TLP was seeking a new artistic director, he was tempted to apply, but his schedule would not allow it. Instead, he thought of his good friend Stancato who was aware of the theater and fell in love with the area.

"When he got the job, I said, 'Paul, you owe me huge'," Mangler said.

Stancato said he put Mangler in one show and suggested "The Full Monty." He said the role of Dave was practically made for Mangler.

"Dave is a very funny guy and lovable. So Darren is the only one I wanted," Stancato said.

Mangler, who was only familiar with the movie version, watched the musical online and fell in love with it. The musical tells the story of a group of unemployed steelworkers who decide strip to make some quick cash.

"The music is tremendous," Mangler said, who returned to the area in early June to visit his family in the Savanna/Sabula area.

He and the rest of the cast have been rehearsing the musical for almost two weeks and he is excited for the show's opening night this Thursday, July 5.

"The only drawback is my mother doesn't want me to get naked," said Mangler, with a hearty laugh.

While he enjoys the music and comedy of "The Full Monty." Manglers's favorite part is his character's storyline and his relationship with his wife. In the show, Dave is quite self-conscious about his weight, which leads to problems in his marriage.

Mangler said he loves the romance between Dave and his wife, Georgie, who "really loves him for who he is" and gives him support. He said the music, dancing and jokes all make the musical a fun one to be in.

"And of course, Paul's (Stancato) an amazing directing," added Mangler with a smile.

Mangler encourages people to come out to see "The Full Monty," which he says is heartwarming and a lot of fun.

"Seeing men that aren't typical dancers dancing is going to be a joy to watch," Mangler said.

Stancato is excited to have Mangler in the show, pointing out that an actor like Mangler highlights the importance of local theaters like TLP.

"When he (Mangler) was a kid in the 80's, Timber Lake made an impact on him," Stancato said. "It's a real treat to have him back as a TLP alum."

"The Full Monty" is showing at the playhouse in rural Mount Carroll from Thursday, July 5, through Sunday, July 15. Tickets are available online at or by calling the box office at 815-244-2035. The box office is open daily 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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