DC Theatre Scene: The Full Monty

monty_postcard_web featureCan you dance? Can you sing? Well, whad’ya got?” In Keegan Theatre’s version, it’s the short balding guy who shows the folk at the audition, upstage, mind you, what God has given him. At which point, the men eye him with a mixture of awe and envy and the fast-talking accompanist Jeanette goes speechless and wipes the corners of her mouth to keep from drooling.

It’s one of those unbeatable comic moments that playwright Terrence McNally has written into his musical adaptation of the 1997 film The Full Monty. Crafted to incorporate cultural and gender stereotypes, the stage version aims for a mass appeal, and Keegan’s cast delivers the goods.

[Mark A.] Rhea and [Susan Marie] Rhea chose their cast wisely, men whose bodies and voices are not airbrushed and technologically mixed to be anything but who they are. This grounded the work and made certain break-out songs all the more enjoyable.

[Kurt] Boehm anchors the play with a performance that is strong vocally and emotionally compelling. He is totally believable as a guy coming up through the ranks of working class Buffalo….. [John]Loughney is a marvelous singer-actor and can crank to another gear….[Kari] Ginsburg’s reprise of the song “You Rule My World” with Priscilla Cuellar shows these women can really deliver the vocal goods in this pop musical….the knock-out performance is Rena Cherry Brown as the tough-as-nails, whiskey-and-cigarette voiced, retired pro with stories about working with every hoofer and songwriting team in Broadway’s history.

Musical Director Jake Null scores big points in keeping the rather long score propelling forward musically.

Choreographer Ashleigh King is also to be commended on the women’s numbers as well as the lead up and final men’s dances.

Read the Full Review at DC Theatre Scene