BWW Review: THE FULL MONTY at Argyle Theatre
Once again, Director and Broadway star Evan Pappas enlisted an energetic ensemble full of grandiose voices and enthusiasm to bring another crowd-pleasing musical to Long Island. This time around it's "The Full Monty" which first premiered on Broadway in 2000. This Terrence McNally/David Yazbek adaptation of the cult classic motion picture was one of the first movies from the late 90's to be musicalized for the stage and definitely one of the better ones.
Mr. Pappas takes us to Buffalo where unemployment is high and those freshly laid off are scrambling for work and wages. We meet Jerry Lukowski who not only can't find a job but also can't pay child support. His son means everything to him and he'll do anything to maintain that relationship, anything. After a chat with an exotic entertainer, Jerry realizes that the cash might roll in faster if he shakes his money maker. He rounds up a troop of everyday folk craving the dollar and willing to participate in a sold out exhibition and well, you'll just have to see for yourself how this grown-up fairytale ends.
The marvelous Eddie Egan plays Jerry to perfection and this powerhouse has some set of pipes! He is flanked by a few wacky, lovable peeps who despite all their everyday issues, relish in the opportunity to come out of their shell. Max Wilcox as Dave, Pat Moran as Malcolm, Hunter Brown as Ethan, Milton Craig Nealy as Horse and John Hickok as Harold might not seem like your average Chippendale chums but this strong team of professionals stand tall, pull together, and showcase their many, many talents both individually and collectively.
Mr. Wilcox is both hysterical and charming as Jerry's best friend, Saran Wrap and all! Mr. Moran's Malcolm is sweet and innocent and Mr. Hickok as Harold is solid, going every length to give his wife the impression he actually has been working these past six months. Mr. Nealy's Horse is a stunner as he spins and whirls around while Mr. Brown is both unbelievably hilarious and endearing as Ethan. With enough talent to bring down Buffalo, this revealing team conquers unemployment and anything that gets in their way.
The many colorful characters we meet along the way are all worth mentioning with no favoritism given to those with the least amount of clothing. David Borum, Brayden Brown, Sean Cullen Carroll, Luke Dombroski, Emily Durand, Katherine Fletcher, Malcolm Franklin, Kaisha S. Huguley, Hannah M. James, Kyra Leeds, James Schultz, Nicole Zelka and Jacob Karp all beam with excitement and diligence as they present this story of love, self-esteem, and of course fatherhood.
Finally, just when you think things couldn't get any zanier, Kristine Zbornik pops up as the cooky Jeanette. No one knows where this golden girl came from but this den mother serves as the boys' piano player, stage manager, and creative consultant. Zbornik's zinging one-liners and simply telling it like it is made for bubbly entertainment.
As always, the show's creative design team, appropriate choreography, and swinging band led by Ethan Andersen are all top-notch. Jeanette certainly guided those unemployed fellas to financial riches yet she is no match for director Mr. Pappas. We always marvel at his passion for directing and recreating these Broadway extravaganzas for the people. By paying his dues for years as a first-rate actor, he knows exactly how to bring out the best and brightest performances from his circle of talent.
David Borum, Brayden Bratti, Hunter Brown, Sean Cullen Carroll, Emily Durand, Luke Dombroski, Eddie Egan, Katherine Fletcher, Malcolm Franklin, John Hickok, Kaisha Huguley, Hannah M. James, Jacob Karp, Kyra Leeds, Pat Moran, Milton Craig Nealy, Michelle Rubino, James Schultz, Max Wilcox, Kristine Zbornik, and Nicole Zelka.
Set Design Front Row Theatrical, Lighting Design Graham Kindred, Costume & Wig Design Peter Fogel, Sound Design Carlos Dias, Jr., Casting Director Michael Cassara, CSA, Assistant Choreographer Claire Leon, Production Coordinator Alison Savino, Production Stage Manager Krista Swan, Musical Director Ethan Andersen, Choreographer/Associate Director Eugenio Contenti, and Directed by Evan Pappas. Book by Terrence McNally and Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek.
For more information please visit: www.argyletheatre.com or call the box office: 844-631-5483