January 25, 2017
In another hit for Long Island’s John W. Engeman Theatre, Tony nominee The Full Monty delivers a lively production like its Broadway predecessor. This wonderful incarnation, directed superbly by Engeman newbie Keith Andrews, runs through March 5th at the gorgeous Northport venue. The musical, by Terrence McNally and David Yazbekbased on the 1997 movie, centers on a group of steel workers who were laid-off from their job and we follow them trying to get back on their feet and overcome insecurities.
Each has their own story, but their goal is the same.
Jerry, portrayed excellently by Brent Michael DiRoma, is fighting to continue to see his son as Jerry hasn’t paid child support in a while. Incidentally, Kyle Wolf, who portrays son Nathan, is a natural in the role with a great combination of hopefulness for his father yet discomfiture. Dave, portrayed charmingly by Ryan G. Dunkin, seeks to overcome body-image issues and be a more attentive husband to Georgie strongly portrayed by Nicole Hale. Harold Nichols, the guy’s former supervisor portrayed by Peter Simon Hilton, is worried how his wife, Vicki, portrayed by Gaelen Gilliland, will react to him being unemployed because she REALLY likes their extravagant lifestyle. Malcolm MacGregor, portrayed endearingly by Spencer Glass deals with an elderly, overbearing mother as well as shyness. Ethan Girard, portrayed hilariously by Noah Bridgestock, is a young, simple man navigating life. And Noah “Horse” T. Simmons, portrayed excellently by Milton Craig Nealy, is trying to keep busy in retirement.
Once Jerry and Dave realize how fervent their wives (and the rest of the town) react to a touring male strip-show revue, they recognize this is how they can at least start mending their lives. They put together their own Chippendales-esque show (with a twist!) with the help of sassy pianist Jeanette Burmeister portrayed by show-stopperDiane Findlay in a performance that leaves the audience in absolute stiches. Additionally, Kate Marshall is stellar as Jerry’s estranged wife Pam.
The entire Broadway caliber cast is truly extraordinary with spot on comedic timing at every turn.
Another highlight is the innovative set designed by DT Willis. At first we see a moody, grungy ambiance fitting to the guys beyond frustrated mood collecting unemployment for so long and nothing is being done by their union. Movable pieces flow seamlessly to bring us to different locations throughout the production. This is enhanced cleverly byDoug Harry‘s lighting and Tristan Raines‘ stunning costumes.
And so, the Engeman’s The Full Monty is indeed a must see for the season. And to clarify, even though there are intense moments, the outnumbering – and endless – hilarious moments will certainly leave you smiling.