The Full Monty

“Movies translate to musicals pretty well. You take a story that is already proven to have a response. Your pacing issues are hammered out. And you’ve got a pretty good idea of what hit the mark and what should be reworked. If you’ve noticed a theme lately, its that when I’m blogging a movie that was the basis for a musical, I usually know the musical much better. Seeing as how I’ve stage managed a production of The Full Monty and only seen the film a couple times, the pattern holds.

At least as far as shows, this is one of my favorites. Not just for the nostalgia from having been so intimately involved with the show (you don’t get further in the thick of it than stage managing), but it’s just a really good show. The music is fun. The book is funny. The story is incredibly emotional and inspriational. Some of the details are different from the film (including moving it over to the US) but most of it is there. Small town relies on a steel mill for employment that’s been shut down. The workers are laid off and having trouble making ends meet. Jerry/Gaz (stage/film) is desperate to afford his child support payments or risk losing his son. He rounds up some other fellas that are down on their luck and they decide to put on a strip show to make some money. But why would women pay to see these misfits take off their clothes and dance around? Because unlike the professionals, these guys will go “”the full monty””. Now here’s what I really love about it. The characters are so strong with a story that’s really tugging at your heart, you completely forget the end game. You might have gone into this wanting to see some guys take their clothes off (at least for comedic value), but by the time we get to their performance, you just want to see these guys succeed at getting their life together. You find yourself cheering them on because you’re happy for them and how far they’ve come.

Among other differences, the film is decidedly much more British than the show. IMDB trivia tells me the US release of the movie included a hand out with translations for some of the slang.
Okay, one epic scene that didn’t make it to the stage, the guys dancing in the unemployment line. Prolly the single best scene in the film.

Oh man, watching this is bringing back so many memories. A lot of the dialog was translated verbatim (again, stage manager, I would know these things). Some of my favorite theatre boys were in my cast, and I can still picture their expressions at key moments. Also, it’s not every show that you have to hold at intermission because “”[Redacted] can’t find his sparkly red thong”””

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