TLP's "The Full Monty" 'the perfect night out'

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Posted: Monday, July 9, 2018 4:34 pm

By SAMANTHA PIDDE

Timber Lake Playhouse's production of "The Full Monty" is risqué, riotous and moving.

Based on the 1997 film, the musical opened on Broadway in October 2000, with the book written by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by David Yazbek. Last performed at TLP in 2005, "The Full Monty" is directed and choreographed by TLP Artistic Director Paul Stancato. It opened at TLP Thursday, July 5, and runs through Sunday, July 15.

This story of six out-of-work men who try to earn money and their dignity by performing as strippers, is funny, romantic and touching. While being a fun, dirty romp, the musical also shows the hardships of unemployment, relationship troubles and the power of love.

Both the resident and guest performers shine in this cast.

Resident performer Trevor Vanderzee is perfect in the role of the unemployed and unmotivated Jerry Lukowski, who comes up with a crazy scheme to raise enough money so he does not lose joint custody of his son, Nathan (played wonderfully by Cabot McLaughlin). Vanderzee alternates seamlessly between shiftless bum and caring father. His rendition of "Breeze Off the River" is beautifully sung, heartfelt and brings tears to your eyes.

Savanna native, Darren Mangler, returns to TLP to portray Dave Butinsky, Jerry's overweight friend who is dragged into his plans. Dave serves as much of the comedy relief in the musical and Mangler injects a great amount of sarcasm and whit in the role, while still showing the character's vulnerability concerning his weight and his marriage troubles. Resident performer Erin Stapleton portrays Dave's wife, Georgie, well. The two of them play off together and show a troubled, but ultimately strong marriage.

The men's former boss and reluctant dance choreographer, Harold Nichols, is played wonderfully by resident actor James Tweedale. He is perfect as this uptight man, who is struggling to continue to provide the good life to his high-maintenance wife, Vicki (played skillfully by resident performer Rebecca Marowitz).Much like Mangler and Stapleton, Tweedale and Marowitz have a wonderful chemistry and demonstrate the strength and love of marriage. Bothe couples shine in "You Rule My World" and its reprise.

The rest of the "Hot Metal" dance crew is rounded out well by guest performer Richard E. Waits (as Noah 'Horse' T. Simmons), and resident performers Ryan Wagner (as Malcolm MacGregor) and Dylan Goike (as Ethan Girard). Waits shines and shows off his stellar dance moves in "Big Black Man." Both Wagner and Goike bring a lot of comedy to their roles, but also superbly perform the hauntingly, beautiful duet "You Walk With Me."

Guest performer Michelle McKenzie-Voight is perfect as the old, eccentric accompanist, Jeanette Burmeister.

The cast is rounded out wonderfully with the TLP's resident performers. Actors include: Anna Catherine Smith as Pam Lukowski; Alex Rudd as Buddy 'Keno' Walsh; Olivia Belfie as Estelle Genovese; Olivia Ursu as Joanie Lish; Corinne Gahan as Delores Wright; Danielle Bessler as Susan Hershey; Ben Griener as Teddy Slaughter; Max Behneman as Tony Giordono/Reg Willoughby; Lily Autumn Page as Molly MacGregor; Ben Senneff as Police Sergeant.

The choreography of the various musical numbers, and most notably the strip scenes, was masterfully done by Stancato, Associate Choreographer Olivie Belfie and Assistant Choreographer Eliza Kang.

The TLP band brings the wonderful soundtrack to life. Musicians include: conductor Lena Gabrielle on keyboard; Mike McCoy on trumpet; Joe Titus on trombone; Emily Nunemaker and Jacob Dickman on reeds; Glen O'Fallon on bass; Grace Shelly on drums; Seth Wright on guitar.

The music of "The Full Monty" is varied, runny the gambit of fun and ridiculous to serious, sad and romantic. "Scrap," "It's a Woman's World," "Big-Ass Rock," "Man," and "Let It Go" are just some examples of this musical's wonderful soundtrack.

The space and versatile (transitioning from a dirty club's men’s room, to a factory, to a nice home and more) was created by Scenic Designer Matt Hamel. Lighting Designer Tanner Simpson did an excellent job with the lighting cues, especially the ones in the show-stopping last scene.

The performance also would not have been possible without the hard work of Costume Designer Sarah Lake-Rayburn, Sound Designer Jacob Almanzar, Properties Designer Ben Griener, Production Stage Manager Laura Krouch, Assistand Music Director Ben Senneff, Assistant Director Jasmine Elam and the crews.

With it's wonderful songs, hilarious plot and top-notch acting, TLP's "The Full Monty" is the perfect night out.

The Full Monty" is running at the playhouse in rural Mount Carroll until Sunday, July 15. Tickets are available online at timberlakeplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 815-244-2035.

© 2018 Carroll County Mirror-Democrat . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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