WINDY CITY TIMES
||THEATER REVIEW The Full Monty
by Mary Shen Barnidge
This article shared 2534 times since Wed Mar 18, 2015
Playwright: music and lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Terrence McNally. At: Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150; www.kokandyproductions.com; $38. Runs through: April 12
Upstarts triumphing over adversity against seemingly impossible odds are a favorite theme of audiences in the United States, a country founded upon just such audacity. Our applause is even greater when the project involves straying outside conventional gender roles, but what we most approve are the empathy and acceptance engendered by venturing beyond comfort zones.
Our story begins with marital arrangements in the industrial town of Buffalo, New York, in disorder: the unemployed men of the now-closed steel mills do household chores, while the womenfolk, whose retail positions at the local mall are unaffected by the economical upheaval, draw the paychecks and enjoy the privileges that come therewithspecifically, weekly girls-nights-out devoted to ogling male striptease artists. When a divorced father lagging in his child-support payments notes the monetary rewards of baring booty, it inspires a scheme for restoring the solvencynot to mention moraleof himself and his displaced comrades.
This last factor is what distinguishes Kokandy director John D. Glover's approach to Terrence McNally's book for this musical, adapted from the non-musical film. Most productions tend to concentrate on the premise of maleswhom even sympathetic peers describe as "too skinny, too fat, too shy, too dumb, too old and too ugly"desperately clinging to their preconceived identities as they reluctantly surrender to harsh necessity. The emphasis this time, however, is on the erosion of prejudices impeding the progress of husbands and fathers who refuse the available jobs out of stubborn vanity. As the night draws near when the would-be ecdysiasts will have to make good on their promise to deliver their customers the daring "full monty," they are forced to join together in fraternal intimacy revealing more than just their, um, Richard the Thirds. They may report to work as mall security guards the morning following, but they will do so with a pride invulnerable to mere circumstance.
In the meantime, there's still plenty of fun in the prospect of amateur dancers instructed in burlesque bump-and-grind by their former factory supervisor to piano accompaniment supplied by a geriatric vaudevillian arriving with salty show-biz stories ranging from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. On opening night, the vocals on David Yazbek's jazz-based score were a bit hesitant ( excepting Colette Todd, Randolph Johnson and George Toles, who belt for the rafters from the first breath and never let up ), but by the time act one closes with "Michael Jordan's Ball," our parable is stepping briskly toward its happy endingin every sense.
This article shared 2534 times since Wed Mar 18, 2015
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|SHOWBIZ Coming-out film, James Baldwin, Madonna, 'White Lotus,' women's soccer 2023-03-31|
- Director/co-writer Shariff Nasr's intimate coming-out drama El Houb will be out on Digital and DVD on April 4 via Dark Star Pictures (and in L.A. theaters on April 7), per a press release. The film's decorated ...
|House Musical: Coming of Age in the Age of House, celebrating the house music scene, to run April 20 - 30 2023-03-30|
--From a press release - Chicago, Illinois (March 30, 2023) — Campsongs Productions today announced the on-sale of world premiere musical House Musical: Coming of Age in the Age of House, celebrating Chicago's famed house music scene at the legendary Warehouse ...
|Hell in a Handbag Productions premieres intergalactic queer extravaganza 'I Promised Myself to Live Faster' 2023-03-29|
--From a press release - Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 21st season with the Chicago premiere of I Promised Myself to Live Faster, an intergalactic queer extravaganza ...
|Book of Mormon's Sam Nackman knocks on Cadillac Palace door 2023-03-28|
- The Book of Mormon is returning to Chicago on a mission to convert new followers into the musical fold. The masterminds behind the satirical cartoon series South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker created a smash ...
|The Jeff Awards announces recipients of 49th- anniversary non-Equity theater honors 2023-03-28|
--From a press release - MARCH 27, 2023 — CHICAGO — In its 49th anniversary celebration of non-Equity theater excellence, the Jeff Awards recognized 35 award recipients selected from among 167 theater artist nominees across 28 artistic and technical categories. Awar ...
|SHOWBIZ 'Joy Ride,' Cynthia Erivo, David Bowie, March Madness, Kevin Bacon 2023-03-25|
Video below - The first trailer for the upcoming comedy Joy Ride has been released, Out noted. The movie stars Ashley Park, queer Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once), bisexual comedian Sherry Cola (Good Trouble) and ...
|Kokandy Productions announces 2023 Season 2023-03-22|
--From a press release - CHICAGO (March 22, 2023) — Kokandy Productions is thrilled to announce its 2023 season, including two fully produced musicals, plus plans for the return of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. This summer, Kokandy will dive into ...
|Opera Preview: Life of gay World War II hero Alan Turing transformed into a world-premiere opera 2023-03-17|
- It has taken a decade for The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing to grow from an idea into a full- fledged opera. Chicago Opera Theater stages the world premiere of composer Justine F. Chen and ...
|Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project to present dance concert 'Sans Pareil' 2023-03-14|
--From a press release - Deeply Rooted Dance Theater joins the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project again to take the stage in a dance concert entitled Sans Pareil—French for "unparalleled," a nod to the Haitian lineage of Chicago's founder, Jean-Baptiste Pointe ...
|House Musical, Coming of Age in the Age of House, coming to Hoover-Leppen Theatre 2023-03-14|
--From a press release - Campsongs Productions presents the world premiere of House Musical - Coming of Age in the Age of House, with book by Marcus Waller, music by Scott Free (with Michael Foley) and lyrics by Scott Free and ...
|RuPaul's Drag Race WERQ THE WORLD in Chicago Aug. 4 2023-03-12|
--From a press release - RuPaul's Drag Race WERQ THE WORLD, the largest drag show on earth, returns in 2023 with a show in Chicago Aug. 4 and in 100+ cities across the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, Europe and Mexico! ...
|SHOWBIZ Little Richard, Indigo Girls, Rodriguez's honor, dance film, Pedro Pascal 2023-03-10|
Video below - Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortes' Sundance opening-night documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything will debut in theaters and on VOD ...
|Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 2023 Gala May 13 at The Old Post Office 2023-03-06|
--From a press release - CHICAGO (March 6, 2023) — The Steppenwolf Ensemble and Board of Trustees are pleased to host Steppenwolf 2023 Galaan unforgettable evening celebrating 47 years of powerful and thought-provoking storytelling. Emceed ...
|Center on Halsted presents annual Intergenerational Talent Show 2023-03-06|
- On March 2, Center on Halsted hosted its Fifth Annual Intergenerational Talent Show, featuring performances from participants from the Youth and Family Services and the Senior Services programs. Participants in the free event presented a program ...
|SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes, Jonas Brothers, 'Queen of Versailles,' 'Bloodshed' 2023-03-04|
Adam Lambert video below - Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes' new comedy special, I'm An Entertainer, will premiere globally on Netflix on May 23, a press release announced. The special, directed by Linda Mendoza, was filmed in early February 2023 at Philadelphia's ...
|WORLD Venezuela code, Oxfam, Bosnia items, 'Brokeback,' Pope Francis|
|NATIONAL 'Don't Say Gay,' anti-trans bills, gay Irish leader visits, gay Calif. mayor|
|SHOWBIZ 'Joy Ride,' Cynthia Erivo, David Bowie, March Madness, Kevin Bacon|
|Michaela Jae Rodriguez honored at HRC dinner|
|Biden appoints Laura Ricketts to Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition|