It’s not a musical you’d expect to see in notoriously conservative Cobb County. “The Full Monty,” based on the crowd-pleasing film, opens next week courtesy of Atlanta Lyric Theatre. It’s about a group of working class gents who, facing unemployment and needing quick money, decide to take it all off one evening. The musical, which retains its gay subplot, is helmed by out director Alan Kilpatrick. We recently caught up with Kilpatrick to talk about the production.
Georgia Voice: Were you pretty familiar with the show before coming aboard?
I had not seen the musical, but I had seen the movie when it came out and loved it in the 1990s. I really have fallen in love with the musical, too. I think it’s a great adaptation of the film. Some of the time adaptations don’t work that well. The musical can seem not to have a life of its own. But this one does. It very well stands on its own. It’s funny and quirky.
How does the musical compare to the film?
The big difference is that it’s been relocated from Sheffield, England to Buffalo, New York. The six men are still steel workers, though. A lot of the characters are drawn the same way. (Openly gay playwright) Terence McNally has added the character of Jeanette, a showbiz type who accompanies the rehearsals. She was not in the film and she is a great addition—very funny, very dry. She gives some balance to the male to female ratio.
“The Full Monty” had some bad luck at the Tonys the year it premiered.
It was nominated for a bunch of Tonys but “The Producers” pretty much swept that year. It was a shame. “The Full Monty” could have gotten a lot more recognition another year.
Tell us about the gay characters.
One of the surprising things in the film and the musical is that we find out late in the show about the two characters (Malcolm, played by J. Koby Parker and Ethan, played by Haden Rider) and their discovery of each other is very sweet. I think it will take a lot of the audience by surprise. It’s treated in such a wonderful way, though. It makes a statement about finding love. One of the most beautiful songs is when Malcolm attends his mother’s funeral and he gets carried away and emotional. Ethan steps in and finishes the song with him. It’s a lovely, subtle moment, and the other men that are part of the strip act are supportive of that.
This is a rather bold show for Cobb County, wouldn’t you say, with gay content and nudity?
It’s going to be surprising to some of the audiences, but the characters are so charming I think they’ll love it. When we get to that moment, the full monty itself, there is a light shift. It’s kind of like Gypsy Rose Lee. It’s more about what you think you’re going to see than what you do.