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​Bare necessities: MSUM’s ‘Full Monty’ promises raucous fun

Theatre | February 15th, 2017

The MSUM School of Performing Arts version of “The Full Monty” is an Americanized pop-rock musical stage version adapted from the 1997 British film of the same name. And they are bringing it to local audiences February 15 – 18 at the Hansen Theatre. All shows start at 7:30 p.m .

Nominated for ten Tony awards, “The Full Monty” is a based on a book by Terrence McNally, with an award-winning score by David Yazbek. It won a Drama Desk Award in 2001 for Outstanding Music. It has played all over the United States, had a very successful run in London, and continues all over the world, including in Denmark, Czech Republic, South Africa, and South Korea.

Rob Rendell, in “Talkin’ Broadway,” gave the Broadway and New Jersey runs of the show positive reviews, calling the shows “provocative” and lauding the “upbeat jazz-tinged score.”

Ben Brantley in “The New York Times,” says, of the Broadway run, “The warmth the evening gives off has less to do with the titillation of its central premise than with its enormous good will” and that audiences will love “the winning, ear-catching pop score.”

Songs in the production include “It’s a Woman’s World,” “The Goods,” “You Rule My World,” and “Let it Go.”

Craig Ellingson, Director of Theatre Arts and Dance at MSUM, says that this musical is “about heart and the indomitable human spirit.” In it “we see a group of people working through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties.” Oh, and he says, “By the way, it’s funny too!”

Ellingson says that selecting “The Full Monty” for local audiences was an easy choice, as “the book and the music are so well written. It is a great combination of strong characters and fun music.” The 1997 film, starring Robert Carlyle and Tom Wilkinson, was a big hit, and Ellingson explains that this version is “pretty true to the original premise,” except that it’s been reset to contemporary Buffalo, N.Y. and a few characters have been added.

“The Full Monty” tells the story of six unemployed steelworkers in Buffalo, who put together a strip act to raise money to pay their bills. The lead member thinks they can make money by giving audiences a performance similar to The Chippendales, but also going a little extra by doing it completely nude – “the fully monty!” Will they actually show audiences the naughty bits? The musical is, however, more about the process the characters undergo as they prepare for the potentially scandalous performance. They deal with relationship problems and various societal pressures. The show also tackles gender expectations and stereotypes with humor and honesty.

“Expect a bawdy and raucous time,” adds Ellingson, as he also reminds potential audiences that it does contain adult content. He further explains to expect “various levels of undress” in the show, “but no full nudity.”

Christopher Knutson plays the lead in the production, as a down-and-out steel worker. He recently advanced to the final round of our regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, where he was awarded a special commendation from the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA).

Tickets are available online through the MSUM Box Office, or in person or phone. Tickets are also available at the door the night of the performance.

IF YOU GO

MSUM Theatre: “The Full Monty” 

February 15-18, 7:30pm Hansen Theatre in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts 

Contact: Craig Ellingson: craig.ellingson@mnstate.edu; 701-388-9382 MSUM 

Box Office online: http://www.mnstate.edu/tickets; 218-477-2271

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