Director Jim Norman was blunt with actors auditioning for the production of The Full Monty. The musical— an Americanized version of a classic 1997 British comedy film— relates the story of six unemployed and down-on-their-luck steelworkers who are inspired by a touring Chippendale’s troupe. The group decides to earn cash by stripping as well, except they won’t stop at the G-string.
Both the insecurity and the nudity are revealed by Norman’s cast in the Valentine production. “That was explained at the auditions. We talked about it upfront, that the six guys would be going the ‘full monty,’” Norman said.
Christopher Stack, who will play Ethan in the production said, “When I asked if we honestly get nude on stage for the show, Jim smirked and said, ‘It’s not The Partial Monty now, is it?’”
“Taking off your clothes in front of eight hundred people takes… well, you know. I’m absolutely horrified. I won’t lie,” Stack continued. “However, I feel like it’s going to be strangely exhilarating. It’s one of those moments that is so beyond my comfort zone and I’m hoping the crowds will go wild at our confidence. We only live once, right?”
For Norman, being at the helm of the Toledo production of the show is something he has worked toward for years. Norman had wanted to do his own version of the show ever since the Toledo Rep’s own productions of “The Full Monty” played to sold-out houses in 2007.
“I’ve been lobbying the Valentine to do it for about three years,” Norman said. “They used to produce local shows, locally acted shows. I think it’s been a little over ten years since they did it. And I said, ‘Well, if they’re gonna try it out again, this play has a pretty good audience base.’”
Norman said his cast has taken to the show with gusto, even those like Stack, who had no prior experience with the material. Stack said the support of his fellow cast members has been crucial in growing comfortable with his performance.
“I originally put my g-string on backwards somehow. Great start, I know,” Stack said. “Thankfully our choreographer, Brian [Rodabaugh], has been very patient with us. Both he and Jim have assured us that it would all be done tastefully.”
Beyond the titillation and bawdy humor though, there is a wonderfully inspiring story at the heart of The Full Monty for audiences to enjoy. “We’ve all felt self-conscious and this show is all about realizing your self worth and challenging yourself in whatever you want to do while the rest of the world tells you otherwise. I really hope the audience connects with these quirky characters and follows their lead by overcoming their inner demons to find strength,” Stack said.
“I would just hope that the audience comes away having a great night of fun in the theater. That’s the bottom line with theater — to entertain.”
$10-$30. 7:30pm, Friday-Saturday. 2pm, Sunday. September 8-10.
The Valentine Theatre
410 Adams St. | 419-242-2787 | valentinetheatre.com