Inside JCPRD: “The Full Monty” hits the stage at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center

Stripper rehearsal! Left to right: Shane St. James (Noah “Horse” T. Simmons), Weston Thomas (Ethan Girard), Joe Bellinger (Jerry Lukowski), Ethan Platt (Malcolm Macgregor), Phil Howard (Harold Nichols).

By Tim Bair

Take it off… TAKE IT ALL OFF! (Well… kind of!)

So, it goes like this… a group of men have been laid off from their jobs at the town steel factory. Their wives, many of whom are supporting their husbands during this furlough, need a little out-of-the-house fun… well, entertainment, and they find it onstage at Tony Giordano’s club.

They get dolled up and head for a “girls’ night out” where the feature onstage attraction is Buddy “Keno” Walsh – a male stripper who makes a wad of cash for showing it off. The women LOVE IT!

The husbands just happen to catch sight of the women (catch sight = spying on). Are they jealous? Yep. Feeling emasculated? Oh sure. Can they come up with a plan… a bold… unclothed plan… to make some quick cash? YOU BET! And so, out of desperation, they decide that if “Keno” can do it… then THEY CAN TOO! Seems reasonable, right? Well… with enough practice anything is possible, yea?

Off they go. A bunch of rehearsing and a few good hours of commiserating about belly fat, loss of identity and lack of rhythm ensue before they actually start taking things seriously, and attempt to get their groove on, and their clothes off.

The big night grows closer. Feeling pretty good about it all, the fellas decide to have a dress rehearsal at the steel plant (they know the night guard…) and invite an audience from the nearby nursing home. The music starts, the boom of the bass rattles, and just as the guys start taking stuff off, the police raid the joint! Some run and escape, and some get shuttled down to the police station. Oh, never mind that one of the fella’s 12-year-old son was with them and gets dragged along in the paddy wagon… and mom shows up… and now, even if dad DOES come up with child support… well… shared custody seems a little out of the question.

Through it all, not only do the guys find themselves extremely exposed… physically… but turns out… emotionally as well. They conquer fears, self-consciousness, and prejudices, and come to discover that they’re stronger as a group, and the strength that they find in each other gives them the individual courage to “let it go.” Let it ALL go!

The fellas discuss tchotchkes before rehearsal. Left to right: Phil Howard (Harold Nichols), Weston Thomas (Ethan Girard), Shane St. James (Noah “Horse” T. Simmons), Ethan Platt (Malcolm Macgregor), Joe Bellinger (Jerry Lukowski).

This musical is based on the cult hit film of the same name and is a ten-time Tony Award® nominee.

Lots of other stuff happens and is pretty hilarious. This show is filled with honest affection, engaging melodies and the most highly-anticipated closing number of any show! It really is delightful!

“The Full Monty” opens Friday, Oct. 1 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 17 at The Black Box Theatre located inside the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center at 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. Tickets on sale now at theatreinthepark.org.

I hope you will join us for this production. As always, we’ll be really happy to see you! Just a reminder that this show is for adults! (And pretty perfect for date night!) Check online at theatreinthepark.org for complete details.