For all who fancy seeing a comedy about six men shedding their clothes for money, “The Full Monty” is the performance to watch. The department of musical theatre’s first musical of the year promises a rock show that will leave the audience with peals of laughter while being tragic and touching at the same time.

The Full Monty

Through October 23rd; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m, Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Mendelssohn Theatre
From $10


Based on the 1997 British comedy film of the same name, the story revolves around six factory workers who are suddenly unemployed and left without any direction. In an exigent need for cash, they take to strip dancing as a desperate measure to make ends meet. The musical, whose story is similar to the film’s, is based in Buffalo, N.Y. rather than the original setting of Sheffield, England.

The show is directed by Mark Madama, an associate professor in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Madama believes the show’s primary themes of family and economic hardship make it more relevant than ever today.

“I look at the economy now and what’s happening to the middle and working class, and see how they are losing their jobs in the same way these men in ‘The Full Monty’ are losing their jobs,” Madama said.

Cynthia Westphal, an assistant professor at the Musical Theatre department, will conduct a 10-person orchestra in the rock themes that make this show so entertaining.

“The music is upbeat, exciting and funny,” said MT&D senior Alex Finke, who plays Vicki Nichols, a wife of one of the unemployed construction workers. “It varies in genres from pop/rock, soul, funk and folk. It is heartwarming and fun and shares a story I believe most can relate to.”

The cast members intend to bring the proper depth to their roles. Madama said his actors have risen to the challenge of playing parents rather than dependents.

“It was terrifying,” said MT&D senior Joe Carroll, who plays stripper Jerry Lukowski. “I did a lot of work. I watched a lot of … films about single dads, read what it was like to be a single dad. It was really hard to portray the depth of that, you know, to be a 20-something who’s playing a 30-year-old.”

Of course, the show is most famous for its climactic final dance sequence, which ends in the metaphorical “Full Monty.”

Madama skirted that issue but promised everything crucial to the story was included.

“We didn’t backtrack on anything,” Madama said. “We did what was needed for the story. And there’s a very good surprise at the end.”

Underlying themes of struggle, family, working class culture and desperation make “The Full Monty” captivating to many. Carroll finds its characters sublimely human and infinitely relatable.

“You see inside the soul and the heart of these six guys, and you want them to succeed so desperately,” Carroll said. “You get sort of wrapped in their story and you fall in love with them.”

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