Drop Everything – The Up-Beat Musical Comedy THE FULL MONTY Opens
at Peninsula Players July 27
Fish Creek, Wisconsin – Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theatre and Door County’s professional theatrical icon, continues its 81st season July 27 with the lively, uplifting pop-rock musical that takes it all off, “The Full Monty” with book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by David Yazbek. “The Full Monty” performs through August 14. “The Full Monty” contains adult themes, language and nudity.
Best friends Jerry Lukowski and Dave Bukatinsky are unemployed and down on their luck. Anxious to provide for their families they come up with a bold and unclothed way to earn quick cash. After seeing how much their wives enthusiastically enjoyed a touring company of the Chippendales, these average Joes concoct a plan to put together a one-night striptease act and show the world what they’re made of by going “the full monty.” Jerry and Dave organize a group of fellow unemployed mill buddies who are short on time, talent and physical appearance, into an act called Hot Metal. Hopes are high to raise $50,000 in one night – or at least enough for Jerry to meet the demands of his ex-wife and pay his child support.
“The Full Monty” prepares to wow Door County audiences with a company of 20 actors and seven musicians, under the direction of Peninsula Players Artistic Director Greg Vinkler, Music Director Valerie Maze and choreographer William Carlos Angulo. Vinkler celebrates his 28th season with the Players, having also directed “Chicago,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Outside Mullingar,” “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” “Chicago” and “Lombardi.” Maze served as music director for the Players’ productions of “Nunsense,” “Cabaret” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.” Angulo recently choreographed “West Side Story” at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois.
“‘The Full Monty’ is a rambunctious and fun story about regular Joes trying to be happy and take care of the people they love,” said Vinkler. “All of the men (and women) face challenges in their personal relationships, in their jobs and in themselves. What they learn and figure out during the show is heart-warming and life-affirming, touching and surprising. Audiences will not just fall in love with them – they’ll be rooting for them in the end.”
Based on the 1997 British Oscar-nominated film the stage musical “The Full Monty” opened on Broadway in 2000 and ran for 770 performances. The electrifying collaboration of writer McNally (the musical “Ragtime” and the play “Master Class”) and composer Yazbek (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) earned the “The Full Monty” 10 Tony Award nominations.
Peninsula Players is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, and employs professional actors. Company members work in regional theaters from Los Angeles to New York, internationally as well as in film, television and radio.
Making their Peninsula Players debut in “The Full Monty” are Adrian Aguilar as Jerry, the instigator and co-founder of Hot Metal. Aguilar’s stage credits include playing Rocky Balboa in Broadway’s “Rocky.” Matthew Scott Campbell is cast as Dave, who deals with various insecurities about himself and his marriage. Campbell’s credits include off-Broadway’s “The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged” and the national tour of “Buffalo Soldiers.”
Hot Metal members recruited by Jerry and Dave include smooth-grooving and moving “Horse,” played by newcomer Byron Glenn Willis whose Chicago stage credits include “Ragtime” with Light Opera Works and “The Jackie Wilson Story” with Black Ensemble Theatre. Ethan, who wants to be this generation’s Donald O’Connor, is played by newcomer Jackson Evans, who recently completed a national tour with Second City of “The Realish Housewives.” Malcolm, a former security guard who lives with his invalid mother, is played by Peninsula Players veteran Harter Clingman (“Saloon”), who recently played Alf in the national tour of “Peter and the Starcatcher.” And rounding out the six-man dance troupe is Harold, from middle-management, played by Steve Koehler (“The Hollow”).
Hot Metal is under the musical direction of Jeanette Burmeister, a saucy show-bizz gal who has “seen it all,” played by Peninsula Players veteran Peggy Roeder (“Lend Me a Tenor,” “Cabaret,” “Sunday in the Park with George.”) Additional cast members include newcomer Brianna Borger as Dave’s wife Georgie, whose credits include a Jeff-Nominated portrayal of Anna in “The King and I” at Porchlight Music Theatre. Players veterans include Maggie Carney, (“Rumors,” “The Lady with all the Answers”) as Harold’s wife, Vicki; Erica Elam (“The Tin woman,” “Born Yesterday”) as sassy Joanie; Katherine Keberlein (“A Real Lulu,” “Dial M for Murder”) as Jerry’s ex-wife Pam; and Matt Holzfeind (“The Tin Woman,” “Lend Me a Tenor”) as Pam’s new love interest.
Rounding out the cast are Katherine Duffy (“The Hollow”); Peter Brian Kelly (“Butler”); Ashley Lanyon (“Nunsense,” “Lend Me a Tenor”), James Leaming (“Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure,” “The Foreigner”), Mark Moede (“And Then There Were None”) and newcomers Samuel Owen Gardner whose credits include “West Side Story” at Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois; Hayden Hoffman, who has participated in various musicals at Gibraltar Area Schools; and Phillip Jindra, a participant in the Peninsula Players internship program this season.
“The Full Monty’s” creative team includes award-winning designers such as scenic designer Jack Magaw (“Outside Mullingar,” “Sunday in the Park with George”); lighting designer Jason Fassl (“Always…Patsy Cline,” “Lombardi”); costume designer Nan Zabriskie (“The Fox on the Fairway”), sound designer Megan B. Henninger (“A Real Lulu”); and properties designer Sarah E. Ross (“The Tin Woman,” “Chapatti”).
Musicians comprising the orchestra for “The Full Monty” include Andy Anderson, trumpet; Craig McClelland, bass; Valerie Maze, keyboards; Maureen Milbach, drums and percussion; George Sawyn, guitar; Eric Schultz, alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet and flute; and Kim Souther on keyboards.
Anderson played with the Army Band at multiple presidential engagements. McLelland is a composer as well as performer. His compositions were recently featured at the UNM International Composer’s Symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Phoenix Experimental Arts Festival. Maze has served as conductor with Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre for “White Christmas” and Goodman Theatre’s “Brigadoon.” Milbach directs two to three shows at Xavier High School in Appleton as has been a percussionist for more than 30 years. Schultz is originally from Green Bay but has relocated to New York City where he performs and teaches while finishing a doctoral candidate in clarinet performance at Stony Brook University. Souther is a professional cellist who resides in Carlsville, Wisconsin and is known for her gender-bending techniques; she recently collaborated with Yo Yo Ma. Sawyn has played guitar since 1967 and is fluent in a variety of styles including jazz, rock, country and classical music. He performs regularly in the Door County area as a solo guitarist.
“The Full Monty” is sponsored by The Cordon Family Foundation and Ken Raupach.
Peninsula Players has been entertaining audiences with performances since July 25, 1935 when the theater opened behind the Bonnie Brook Motel in Fish Creek with Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever.” The company was founded by a brother and sister team, Caroline and Richard Fisher, who dreamt of an artistic utopia in the north woods where actors, designers and technicians could focus on their craft while being surrounded by nature in a contemplative setting. Peninsula Players moved to the theater’s present location along the shores of Green Bay in 1937.
Prior to performances, patrons picnic and relax on the grounds while watching the setting sun over the waters of Green Bay from the cedar-lined shore and enjoy the ambience of the Beer Garden and other gardens.
The Fisher’s dream lives on. Professional actors, directors and designers work side-by-side with college interns, live on the Players 16-acre campus and bring audiences a variety of works including Broadway-quality dramas, mysteries, comedies and musicals.
“The Full Monty” performs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.; except Sunday, August 14 at 4 p.m. Individual ticket prices range from $40 to $46 with discounts for groups of 15 or more. There are no performances on Mondays. A post-show discussion will be held Tuesday, August 9; a pre-show seminar Friday, August 5 with Vinkler and Maze; and a backstage tour Sunday, August 7 at 2 p.m. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players Box Office at (920) 868-3287 or visit its website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.