THE FULL MONTY – Book by Terrance McNally; Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek; Directed by Nick Sugar; Musical Direction by David Nehls. Produced by Miners Alley Playhouse (1100 Miners Alley, Golden) through June 2. Tickets available at 303-935-3044 or 

Let’s get it straight right off the bat! FULL MONTY as done by the men of Miners Alley is an absolute HOOT! Full of fun, charm and a little bit of skin, there’s something for everyone is this delightful production. While totally recognizing my own dotage, the truly elderly woman I sat next to on a recent Sunday afternoon was grinning through the whole production and only covered her eyes once during Ethan Walker’s opening performance as Keno, the professional Chippendale. This is a musical comedy, folks; it’s not a genuine male strip show. As a matter of fact, they don’t even list a choreographer for this show that talks about and leads up to a bunch of men demonstrating how they can barely dance (see what I did there!). Which means the actors themselves must have come up with the steps they did at the end. 

This is totally part of the charm of this piece. You may have seen some of these guys (and girls) in other shows and know that they can dance. They can act sophisticated and suave. But for this production, they personify the man off the street drawn into a situation they never thought possible; absolute fish out of water. If they didn’t all sing so well, you could believe that they all met in a bar and decided to do this show on the spur of the moment. 

Let me introduce the main players. Nick Rigg Johnson plays Jerry who is driven to desperation to raise child support so he can keep seeing his son. If there’s any doubt as to his determination, listen to the words of his lullaby to his son in “Breeze Off the River.” There’s Alejandro Gutierrez playing Dave, a part that has to be assigned to an actor with bulk to his body and a tender singing voice. Alejandro bravely fits the bill as he serenades his sleeping wife with “You Rule My World.” Next we have Rory Pierce, a Miners Alley Favorite, as Harold who has kept his unemployment from his wife and needs to raise money to pay for their next cruise. He joins Dave, making “You Rule My World” a duet as he sings of his love for his wife. The fourth member is Malcomb (Caleb Wenger) who Jerry and Dave save from an attempted suicide by outlining the better ways of doing it with “A Big Ass Rock.” The Hot Metal dance crew add Horse (Dwayne Carrington) and Ethan (Alejandro Roldan) through a hilarious audition process. Also adding youth and heart to the production is Greyson Allensworth (himself a high school junior) as Jerry’s son Nathan who slowly understands why his dad is doing this crazy thing. 

The women in their world are also ably performed by Kayleigh Bernier as Pam (Jerry’s ex), Julia Tobey as Vicki (Harold’s unsuspecting spendthrift wife) and Leiney Rigg as Georgie (Dave’s loving wife). In a show-stopping role as the pianist who shows up to play for the men’s rehearsals (piano and all) is the unforgettable Annie Dwyer. What a treat to see her perform “Jeannette’s ShowBiz Number” where she tells the men how inadequate they are and recounts her own adventures as accompanist to the greats like Frank Sinatra, etc. 

Miners Alley has learned to use their small playing space by creating set pieces that move off and on stage quickly from the wings. It keeps the pace moving steadily and puts the emphasis on the story itself, rather than the “look” of the stage. Scenic Designer Johnathan Scott-McKean and Prop Designer Samantha Piel created the pieces of this process. Kudos as well to Sound Designer and Mixer John Hauser for balancing the music of the offstage five piece live band (led by David Nehls) and the singing of the actors on stage. 

I would be remiss in not mentioning the original creators of this piece who seem to have been left out of the program. The script for the musical which was adapted in 2000 from the script of the original British movie which came out in 1997 was written by the brilliant Terrence McNally who wrote nearly forty plays before his recent death, many of whom you have seen. David Yazbek found just the right note with his music to infuse the production with heart and humor. Any composer who could come up with “Big Ass Rock” and “The Goods” as well as “You Walk With Me” and “Let It Go” deserves the Tony he was nominated for. This is the hot ticket in town right now – don’t let it get away without seeing it!! 

A WOW factor of 9!! 

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