The Full Monty – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

When the main source of employment in Buffalo, New York, a mill, suddenly closes, the displaced workers experience a variety of emotions: anger, depression, suicide, fear, sadness and anxiety. As the months pass and new employment fails to materialize, their prospects dim and working as a security guard at the local mall looms like a life sentence.

The Downtown Cabaret Main Stage Theatre is offering you a front row seat weekends to join these wannabe workers as they deal with serious problems, like divorce, homosexuality, suicide, impotence, body image and self esteem, in the comedy “The Full Monty” with book by Terrence McNally and music by David Yazbek. Until Sunday, May 19, their lives will literally be laid bare for all the world to see.

For Jerry Lubowski (David Webb), the loss of employment is personally devastating. Divorced from wife Pam (Lauren Bell), he is on the verge of losing custody of his precious son Nathan (Nicholas Ferreira) when he fails to make his support payments. His best friend Dave (Kyle Riedinger) doesn’t know how to explain to his wife (Johnna Fettinger) why he has been so distant in the bedroom while the mill’s former manager Harold (Jim Norton) has been lying to his wife (Margaret Buzak) and telling her that he is still working.

These men with their pals Malcolm (Max Helfand). Ethan (Jeff Jannitto) and Noah (Brendan Garnett) have witnessed the way area women have responded to the club featuring Chippendale dancers and come up with a wild plan. They will learn a dance routine and book a club for one night only and make a fortune. Not only will they strip, but they will go one jock strap further and go “the full monty.”

With Jeanette (Elyse Jasensky) as their muse on the piano, they give the plan their all to surprising results. With musical numbers like “Scrap,” “You Rule My World” and “Breeze Off The River,” the band led by musical director Tom Conroy keeps the spirit bouncing along, while Jennifer Kaye keeps the choreography challenging. Andrea Pane gives the men a healthy dose of heart as they work toward their goal.

For tickets ($37.75 ), call the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport at 203-576-1636 or online at www.mycabaret.org. Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. Remember to bring goodies to share at your table or plan to buy some onsite. The Children’s Theatre is featuring “Snow White.”

Can real men learn a dance routine and expose themselves to the world, trying to move like Michael Jordan and leave all their inhibitions at the door? You’ll just have to buy a ticket and discover the answer for yourself.

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