ABT's 'The Full Monty' strikes emotional chord - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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ABT's 'The Full Monty' strikes emotional chord

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Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2011 12:30 pm

The musical, “The Full Monty,” follows six unemployed steel workers as they as put together a strip act.

Even though they’re taking it all off, these men are struggling with deeper issues that they must strip away, besides their clothes, in the show, which opened Friday at Arizona Broadway Theatre.

ABT Executive Producer Kiel Klaphake, who directs “The Full Monty,” said there are many more themes in the musical than just the obvious.

“You’re dealing with things like body image and anxiety,” Klaphake said. “And very seldom in musical theater do you get to explore raw male emotions, but you do here.”

Seth Grugle, who portrays the lead role of Jerry Lukowski, agreed with Klaphake.

“It’s a fantastic musical with fully fleshed-out characters and really tells how a man thinks and feels,” Grugle said. 

The show revolves around six men who are low on both cash and prospects and decide to strip at a local club after seeing their wives’ enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. One of them, Jerry, declares their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they’ll go “the full monty.”

“The Full Monty” is the stage adaptation of the 1997 British film. In this particular production, the show has been Americanized and shifted to Buffalo, N.Y.

In 2000, the musical ran on Broadway for almost two years and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards.

“It’s a very real and funny but emotional show about being in uncomfortable situations,” Klaphake said.

Klaphake said “The Full Monty” has a great musical score that helps propel the story to the finale.

“You’ll definitely have a great time listening to and watching the show,” he said.

Grugle has performed the show once before as Jerry and jumped at the opportunity to be back on stage in ABT’s version.

“Every time I do this musical, I feel like I’m in a brotherhood, especially with the other five guys who play my friends,” Grugle said.

As for the ‘full monty,’ Grugle said he considers it his “rock star moment.”

“After everything that we’ve gone through emotionally in the musical, how can you not take your clothes off,” Grugle said with a laugh.

Mitchell Vantrease may be reached at 623-876-2526 or mvantrease@yourwestvalley.com.

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