Talkin’ Broadway: The Full Monty

monty_postcard_web featureDirectors Mark A. Rhea and Susan Marie Rhea have brought together and guided a cast that is both winning and accomplished, including two Helen Hayes Award recipients: Rena Cherry Brown, a hoot as the unflappable rehearsal pianist Jeanette, and Priscilla Cuellar as Vicki, the shopaholic wife of former mill foreman Harold (Charlie Abel). Kurt Boehm is appealingly rough-edged as Jerry, who has the idea of performing as a male stripper as a way to raise some quick cash, and shaggy Matthew Dewberry gives a sweet performance as Dave, a heavy man with some big insecurities.

Abel amuses as a man with an MBA who can’t accept losing his own job; Patrick Doneghy steals his opening scene as Horse, a man who would seem to be a bit old and arthritic for this sort of thing; John Loughney displays an ethereal voice as mama’s boy Malcolm; and Michael Innocenti gets to goof around (and, no doubt, collect bruises) as “natural talent” Ethan.

The most innovative thing about the Rheas’ staging is the set design by 4Point Design Collective. Keegan works in the confined space of the Church Street Theater…so the design team has created a space delineated by screens and sets each scene through projections. Erin Nugent’s closely observed, sometimes hilarious costumes also benefit the total picture.