April 27, 2005
|Volume 22, Issue 27|
By Stephanie Orr - Assistant Editor
Last weekend the national tour of “The Full Monty” stripped down at Sangamon Auditorium, and now I have a new favorite musical. This was probably the funniest show I have ever been lucky enough to see.
Based on the book by Terrance McNally and set in Buffalo , New York , “The Full Monty” tells the story of several men who are unemployed due to the closing of the steel mill where they used to work.
Jerry Lukowski (Jeremiah Zinger), one of the displaced workers, desperately needs money in order to pay child support to his ex-wife or he will loose joint custody of their son, Nathan (Caden Michael Gray).
Frustrated with the lack of quick-money jobs available and inspired by a “girl's night out” featuring male strippers, Lukowski decides that he and the guys should strip for cash. Thus “Hot Metal,” a six man strip show, is born.
But the women of Buffalo are reluctant to pay to see their local men strip, so Lukowski manages to convince the guys to go all the way, giving the women what they really want – the full monty. (In case you didn't know, the full monty is a euphemism for full nudity.)
What makes this a strange idea is that none of the guys really have “the goods,” that is to say none of the men are in the traditional stripper shape.
“The Full Monty” boasts a cleverly written cast of characters as well as an original score by David Yazbek featuring songs such as “It's a Woman's World” and “Big-Ass Rock.” Employing a mixture of styles including jazz, rock and pop, Yazbek managed to create a musical that is contemporary and fresh.
The set design was minimal but effective in evoking an industrial feel to the theatre. Through careful choreography and timing the stage changed with each scene fluidly taking the audience from the deserted mill to Lukowski's apartment and several other locations without effort.
The costumes, designed by Robert Morgan, were as realistic as they could be without loosing the flare required for stage performance. Morgan employed everything from sequence to flannel when dressing the characters, and who could possibly leave out the itty bitty red g-strings?
Oh yes, there were g-strings. In fact, the show started off with a bang as the audience was invited to participate in a “girl's night out” with the females of the cast.
This included an impeccably choreographed strip tease by Buddy “Keno” Walsh (Cannon Starnes), an exotic dancer brought to town specifically to entertain the working women of Buffalo .
Walsh's stripping to a tiny black g-string set the tone for the show. The various rehearsal scenes kept it alive right until the finale, “Hot Metal's” one and only live performance.
But not everything was about the bare male flesh on stage and having a good laugh. “The Full Monty” also highlighted the effects of a shrinking economy on the people most directly affected by disappearing jobs. While using a humorous tone, the show explored the feelings and consequences of unemployment.
The crowed got involved immediately, reacting to the shock of seeing a stripper first thing, and stayed involved through the show. The audience even gave the performance a standing ovation once the play was over.
Ah, but I didn't answer the biggest question, did I? Did the actors really take it all off? Did we really get the full monty? Well the answer is… I'm not telling! You'll have to catch the tour and find out for yourself, it's worth it.
By Gabrielle Wiegand - Feature Writer
This summer Hollywood has decided to give us a plethora of remakes and sequels (or prequels) - from “Batman Begins” to “War of the Worlds.” However, the mix is peppered with a wickedly funny looking animated movie and a whole lot of Will Ferrell.
The first taste of funnyman Will Ferrell will be in “Kicking and Screaming,” which opens May 13. Ferrell plays any average guy, whose entire life has been spent in the shadow of his overly competitive father, Buck, played by Robert Duvall. Ferrell winds up coaching his young son's soccer team and has to face off with his father for the league championship. “Kicking and Screaming” is rated PG and also stars Mike Ditka. (How weird is that?)
The third and final (thank god) installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, “Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith” will be released May 19. This will be the sixth Star Wars movie overall and in it we will see Anakin Skywalker's turn to the Dark Side as well as the continuation of the Clone Wars and the final fate of the Old Republic .
I am not ashamed to admit it. Sometimes a nice Dreamworks animated movie is just what I need to make it through a tough week. Well, on May 27 “ Madagascar ” is sailing into theaters. Four occupants of the Central Park Zoo, a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a pregnant hippo, go on an adventure that leads them to the island of Madagascar . The four, who are voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer, must find a way to survive the wild after only having known captivity. “ Madagascar ” is rated PG.
The trailer of the next film actually made me cry! June 3's “Cinderella Man” will open starring Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger and Paul Giamatti. “Cinderella Man” is the story of James Braddock, a man who turns to boxing to make money to support his family during the Depression. In the process he becomes quite famous. This film is rated PG-13 for violence and language.
Boys and girls, mark your calendars! On June 17 my one true love, Christian Bale (sure he was a lil' freaky in “American Psycho” but think “Little Women”), is coming to theaters in “Batman Begins.” This film will focus on Batman's younger days and how exactly he becomes Batman.
“Batman Begins” has an excellent supporting cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine. This film is not yet rated (but hunky, hunky Christian Bale is in the batsuit so it's got to be at least PG-13).
Will Ferrell is back on June 24 in “Bewitched” with Nicole Kidman, Shirley MacLaine, and Michael Caine. However this is not typical remake of the classic 60's TV show. Ferrell is a washed up actor who stars in a remake of “Bewitched” only his costar, Kidman, is a little more then he bargained for.
What would a summer be without at least one film in which the world was ending? Well, I'm pretty sure the good guys are going to win out in the end of Steven Spielberg's “War of the Worlds,” a contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells's classic. But you never know! This sci-fi adventure thriller stars Tom Cruise, Miranda Otto and Dakota Fanning and will be opening June 29.
Who is not familiar with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” a rags-to-riches tale of a young boy who wins a candy bar contest? Well if you have never heard of Willy Wonka or oompa-loompas, you will get your chance on July 15 when Johnny Depp stars in the remake.
While I am relatively confident in my reporting skills and thus think all these dates are accurate, check your local listings before heading out to the theaters.
By Gabrielle Wiegand - Feature Writer
The school year will soon be over (sorry for those with summer classes!) but the entertainment at Sangamon Auditorium is not done. The “Magic of Love” will be in town May 12, 13, and 14. Debbie Reynolds is here May 20 and Ron White will be “Drunk in Public” June 3.
The "Magic of Love" combines the attributes of a stage musical and a large-scale illusion performance. The basis of the show is the relationship between a father and his daughter. The two are played by Lawrence Khong, Asia 's top illusionist, and his real life daughter, Priscilla. The duo is driven apart by fame, glory, and betrayal. They are reunited through acts of illusion and accompanying drama and music.
Many people today know Debbie Reynolds as Grace's mother in “Will and Grace.” However, if you're an old movie buff, like myself, you will recognize Reynolds from such classics as “Singing in the Rain” and “Tammy and the Bachelor.” She began her early career in MGM musicals but continues working today in television and film.
One of the funnymen from the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” Ron White's comedy is not for anyone who blushes easily. The Texan's comedic insights are very much from the good ol' boy point of view.
“Magic of Love” will be at Sangamon Auditorium Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m., Friday, May 13 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 14 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets range from $27 to $37. Debbie Reynolds will be at Sangamon Auditorium Friday, May 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $45.
Ron White's “Drunk in Public” will be at Sangamon Auditorium Friday, June 3 at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $36.75. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Sangamon Auditorium Box Office at 217.206.6160 or www.sangamonauditorium.org .
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