Broadway musical based on British blockbuster comes to Gainesville


The Broadway musical "The Full Monty" will be at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for one day only, on Wednesday.

Special to The Sun
Published: Sunday, January 30, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 30, 2005 at 1:48 a.m.
Everybody, at least once in their lives, has driven past a sign promising "adult entertainment" when they were broke and wondered, "Am I desperate enough to take my clothes off for money?"
For most, it's a passing thought, but for six unemployed factory workers, a need for cash makes them go for "The Full Monty."
The musical, based on the highest-grossing British film ever, will reveal itself at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday.
"The show grabs a hold of you and you go on this amazing ride for three hours," said Chris George, a cast member who joined the tour last fall. George plays Harold Nichols, a laid-off worker whose wife is used to the finer things in life. Instead of telling her about his lack of a job, he keeps it a secret and falls deeper and deeper into debt.
While the show is based on a British movie, changes were made when it came to the stage. The location changed from northern England to Buffalo, N.Y., and several other things were changed to make it more Americanized.
"It's much more accessible than the movie, which I found rather dry," said Elizabeth Auer, assistant director of the Center for the Performing Arts, who saw the show shortly after it opened on Broadway in 2001.
And, of course, songs were added. Though most of the songs are pop-inspired, there are some that run the gamut from folk tunes to slower songs.
"There are fantastic stirring ballads," said George.
George's background is in traditional musical theatre, and initially he resisted going to see the show. But when one of his friends said there was a part in it that would be perfect for him, he relented and went to see the show. And the rest, they say, is history.
"I'm not a huge fan of pop musicals, but I fell in love with the show from the beginning," he said. "This is a departure from anything I've ever done before."
And yes, before you ask, there is full nudity in the show. However, it is very quick; the men are almost in silhouette from creative lighting. George said he would give it a PG-13 rating, more for strong language than the blink-and-you'll-miss-it nudity.
The realism of the story and the characters will draw people in more than the title promise, George said. The six men, who deal with problems ranging from troubled marriages to depression to fighting over custody of their kids, all deal with issues that the audience can relate to.
"People will sense the realism in it," George said. "This is about real people."
He even goes so far as to refer to it as a "man's musical," because of the characters feelings and situations.
"They're going to see themselves or someone they know in these characters," he said. "The important thing to remember is that this is not a musical about stripping."
George, who came to Gainesville to perform last year, is excited about returning.
"Every time we go to a college town it's always a lot of fun," he said.
Gainesville is expected to return the feeling.
"The fact that it was nominated for 10 Tonys in 2001 indicates that it would be appropriate for our audience," said Michael Blachly, director of the Phillips Center.
Don't wait to get your tickets: This show is a one-night event.
We'll easily be sold out on this one," Auer said.
And don't come to this show expecting to be quiet and sit on your hands.
"We love to hear people in the audience in this show," George said. "We want to hear you, we want to know you're there."

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