BWW Feature: THE FULL MONTY by the CHARLESTON LIGHT OPERA GUILD at THE CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER LITTLE THEATRE

BWW Feature: THE FULL MONTY by the CHARLESTON LIGHT OPERA GUILD at THE CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER LITTLE THEATRE

Join The Charleston Light Opera Guild this weekend as they perform the hit comedic musical The Full Monty on the Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre Stage! The ten-time Tony nominated show, based on the 1997 British film of the same name, features a book by Terrence McNally and score by David Yazbek.

Performance Dates: June 15th, 16th, 22nd, and 23rd, 2018 at 8:00 PM and June 17th and 24th, 2018 at 3:00 PM.
Location: Charleston Civic Center Little Theatre, 200 Civic Center Drive, Charleston, WV 25301
Ticket Information: $25 in advance. Tickets can be purchased online by
clicking here. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the show at the venue.
Contact Info: The Guild Theatre (304) 342-9312, Answering Service and Main Stage Box Office (304) 343-2287,
contact@charlestonlightoperaguild.org, or via The Charleston Light Opera Guild's Facebook Page.
More Information:
Facebook Event Page or Charleston Light Opera Guild's Website.

The Full Monty tells the story of unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo who, upon spying on their wives during a girl's night out, become jealous when they witness the attention the women are giving male strippers. Feeling emasculated and unable to provide for their wives, the men band together to make some quick cash. What follows is a heartfelt and hilarious story about overcoming fear, prejudice, and self-consciousness.

BWW Feature: THE FULL MONTY by the CHARLESTON LIGHT OPERA GUILD at THE CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER LITTLE THEATRE

Thoughts From the Director:

Director Nina Pasinetti spoke with me about why the Charleston Light Opera Guild (CLOG) chose to stage this production, her thoughts on whether the show is controversial, and the experience of directing this show.

"The Full Monty seemed to balance the Charleston Light Opera Guild's 2018 diverse offerings," said Pasinetti, explaining why CLOG choose to produce this show. "We have a season that has a grand old classic with My Fair Lady, a modern classic with Ragtime, a more intimate show with The Putnam County Spelling Bee, and a family friendly Disney production with The Little Mermaid. Thus, the Charleston Light Opera Guild chose a modern fun-loving musical to present during FestivALL Charleston, our city's celebration of international, national, and local music, dance, theater, visual art, and family fun." Pasinetti said that CLOG likes to branch out during FestivALL, "We always like to present something a little different during that event."BWW Feature: THE FULL MONTY by the CHARLESTON LIGHT OPERA GUILD at THE CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER LITTLE THEATRE

As for her feelings on the show, Pasinetti said she was a fan well before directing this production. "I saw The Full Monty on Broadway in 2000 and I thought it was a hilarious show with great songs by David Yazbek and also a lot of heart. I thought it would be a great offering during FestivALL and hoped we could draw a fun-loving crowd."

"The men in the production are out of work and trying to hold on to their families and self-respect," said Pasinetti when speaking about the core of the story. "The bonding they experience in trying to present a Chippendale style production helps them to reconnect with what is truly important in their lives." Pasinetti added, "many people in West Virginia are experiencing similar out of work situations."

As for whether Pasinetti believes the show will draw controversy in the generally conservative town of Charleston, she said, "The Full Monty toured Charleston several years ago and was well received. We are not the first West Virginia musical theatre company to mount it." Pasinetti did add that, "although it (the show) is a departure from our roots in family-friendly musicals, I think it is most important that a group produce diverse offerings that include modern musical theater. So, no, I'm not worried about presenting it in Charleston."

"It does have a highly anticipated final number," said Pasinetti, explaining what makes this show unique. "But beyond that, it makes us think about our own crazy insecurities of our body images. It also allows us to laugh at ourselves and hopefully analyze what is truly important in our lives."

BWW Feature: THE FULL MONTY by the CHARLESTON LIGHT OPERA GUILD at THE CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER LITTLE THEATREPasinetti is thankful for the great group of actors and crew she has been surrounded with throughout this production. "We have a great nucleus of actors in our six main Characters (Brett Short, Michael D. Gore - who is interviewed later in this article, Rick Payne, Gary Lanham, Thaddeus Stambaugh, and Trey Harris) that prepare to do the Full Monty. I'm certain that it is a stretch of character and movement for some of them, but they have stepped out of their comfort zone and prepared to give audiences a wonderful experience." While the men are a large part of the show, Pasinetti did not forget the women. "I don't want to overlook the six girls (Toni M. Pilato, Heather Allen, Cassandra Phelps, Lindsey Duvall, Lynn Bell, and Cherie Cowder) who play wives, ex-wives, and girlfriends. They offer some of the best moments in the show and are so supportive of the guys. Some of the funniest moments of the show are supplied by Linda Reynolds as Janette, the onstage pianist."

Ensemble and crew were not left out either. "Also valuable are the additional male cast members (Jacob Fleck, Kent C. McMillion, Kennie Bass, and Tim Whitener) that are so needed to tell this story and the young boy (Zene Cooper) that plays principal character Jerry Lukowski's son. Steve Brannon portrays the opening professional stripper, Buddy 'Keno' Walsh, and sets the tone for the entire production. Our crew is hard working with set, costumers, lighting, props, sound, and quick-change needs. Thomas P. Pasinetti is our Tech Director and Stage Manager and Mike Ramsey is the Sound Engineer. This is an ambitious production with sets from Gateway Playhouse in NY. We have a rocking orchestra led by Conductor Bobby Hodges, Jr. and Accompanist John Patrick is guaranteed to entertain."

"Prepare yourself for a different type of musical that will appeal to new and old audience members," said Pasinetti, wanting to urge audiences to approach the show excited and accepting of its underlying message. "Don't come expecting to see Oklahoma! But instead treat yourself to a very funny show with lots of heart and wonderful music. Enjoy the bar in the Civic Center Little Theatre before the show and during intermission."

Thoughts From An Actor:

I spoke with Michael Gore, the actor portraying Dave Bukatinsky, about his thoughts on the show, his character, and the message the show hopes to convey to audiences.

BWW Feature: THE FULL MONTY by the CHARLESTON LIGHT OPERA GUILD at THE CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER LITTLE THEATRE

"You can do anything if you do it for the right reasons!" said Gore, when asked the central message of The Full Monty. "The characters are all struggling with something. Some are out of work, some are dealing with death, others are dealing with self-identity. My character deals with self esteem issues stemming from his weight and lack of a job, and not feeling confident to provide for his family." Gore also explains that the show, "deals with gender roles and how the characters accept them." Ultimately though, the characters "all overcome these issues by working together."

Dave Bukatinsky is sort of a push over, at least at the beginning of the play. "I play Dave," said Gore, "Dave is Jerry's best friend. Jerry kinda pushes Dave around a little and he talks Dave into doing pretty much anything." Just because Dave is a pushover, doesn't mean that he isn't essential to the plot. "Dave is important because he deals with his weight issues the way some people would associate with a woman's approach. His weight issues effect his marriage because his wife thinks he isn't interested but in reality, he is so self-conscious that he pushes her away." Gore added, "He is the true heart of the story."

BWW Feature: THE FULL MONTY by the CHARLESTON LIGHT OPERA GUILD at THE CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER LITTLE THEATREThe underlying theme of The Full Monty is acceptance, whether of yourself or others, or uncontrollable circumstances. Gore identifies with his character as he has at times struggled with acceptance of himself. "I've struggled with weight most of my life. I get where Dave is coming from. He is harder on himself than others are." Gore speaks of Dave's bravery in the show and how he, like his character, had to work up the courage to perform, "stepping out of his comfort zone to go the Full Monty is comparable to me going the Full Monty in this show."

As for how Gore prepared for the role, he said, "Lots of calming of nerves. I've relied on past events to relate to Dave and his struggles." Relating to his character has helped him find Dave's core and to accurately portray what his character is going through. "Watching and loving this show and doing or loving yourself in this show are at two ends of the spectrum. Being comfortable enough to take risks as well as play a character that is a little more grit and unrefined has been a learning experience for me." Preparing for the show wasn't always emotionally draining, as there are some upsides, "On the lighter side is dance. I dance in this show which rarely happens, but I've enjoyed it very much." Gore joked, "watch out 42nd Street, here I come! Ha - I'm not there yet."

"This is one of my all time favorite shows," said Gore, when asked what he wants to say to potential audiences. "You will never laugh this hard."

Cast:

Jerry Lukowski - Brett Short
Nathan Lukowski - Zene Cooper
Pam Lukowski - Cassandra Phelps
Dave Bukatinsky - Michael D. Gore
Georgie Bukatinsky - Heather Allen
Malcolm MacGregor - Thaddeus Stambaugh
Ethan Girard - Trey Harris
Noah "Horse" T. Simmons - Rick Payne
Harold Nichols - Gary Lanham
Vicki Nichols - Toni Pilato
Jeannette Burmeister - Linda Reynolds
Teddy Slaughter - Kent C. McMillion
Buddy "Keno" Walsh - Steve Brannon
Estelle Genovese - Lindsey Duvall
Susan Hershey - Lynn Bell
Molly MacGregor / Joanie Lish - Cherie Cowder
Reg Willoughby - Kennie Bass
Tony Giordano / Gary - Tim Whitener
Marty / Police Sergeant - Jacob Fleck

Crew:

Director / Choreographer - Nina Denton Pasinetti
Musical Director - Bobby Hodges
Accompanist - John Patrick
Technical Director - Thomas P. Pasinetti

Richard Allen is a freelance writer for various publications. He can be contacted via email at richardallenwrites@gmail.com or at facebook.com/richardallenwrites

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