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Monday, November 16, 2009

"The Sound of Music Soars" at LTM

EAST WINDSOR — “The Sound of Music” it ain’t, but still, “The Full Monty” a “raunchy little studfest” of a musical playing at the Opera House Players, like the Oscar and Hammerstein musical, is at it’s heart about family and what people will do for love.
Based on the film by the same name, it’s a timely show about laid off male blue-collar workers in Buffalo, New York, whose self-esteem has taken a serious knock because there is no work and slim prospects of anything much better than being Wal-Mart security guards.
Jerry Lukowski, played by Christopher deJongh, is one of the down-and-outs, who is about to lose visitation rights to see his son, Nathan (Seanan Ellis) because he is arrears in child support to his ex-wife Pam (Sara Steiner).
Jerry learns that the male Chippendale dancers make great money and hatches a scheme with his buddy, Dave Bukatinsky (Ty Pearsons) to stage a strip show with local guys, calling themselves “Hot Metal.”
And so it goes. deJongh has a rockin’ voice that shines when he sings “Man” with the equally fine Pearsons, who is surprisingly light on his feet for a big guy.
Melissa Dupont as Georgie Bukatinsky along with Kathi Such as Vicki Nichols can really belt out tunes and sound terrific together in the powerful duet “You Rule My World,” which Dave and Harold sing earlier.
When Davie and Harold sing the same song, it is supposed to be a dream sequence, but for some reason the two separate couples’ beds are place right next to each other. It would be much better to have them on separate sides of the stage.
When Jerry sings the sweet ballad “Breeze off the River” to his sleeping son, he doesn’t stay next to the boy, but gets up and walks towards the audience to sing, which diminishes the sweet intimacy between father and son.
Although only 10 years old, Ellis, plays the 12-year-old son, Nathan, with amazing realism and maturity — practically stealing the show in the process with his naturalness and confidence.
Unlike the film, in the musical Terrance McNally added an aged accompanist from the old vaudeville circuit, Jeanette Burmeister, to fine effect, here played with snazzy panache by Moonyean Field.
The choreography by Lesley Gallagher is top notch, with some well-coordinated moves, such as the basketball number, “Michael Jordan’s Ball” by the ensemble.
The band led by musical director Tom Slowick is jazzy and great, and really worth coming to hear just on it’s own.
The miked sound of the singers isn’t terrific. Here’s hoping they can get a new sound system. The cast did their best and have good projection on their own, but really they need better amplification, especially when they are competing with amplified instruments.
There is a lot of strong language and brief nudity, so this is not a show for the kids. Honestly I was uncomfortable with a 10-year-old being exposed to and using profanity.
You have got to give these guys credit — they are normal, everyday blokes who walk around half naked and then some for a good part of the show. From the beginning until the end, I found myself involuntarily blushing like I haven’t for years.
If you don’t mind some earthly language and some brief nudity, “The Full Monty” offers a grown up night full of fun.


3 Stars
Theater: Opera House Players
Location: 107 Main Street, Broad Brook
Production: Music and lyrics by David Yazbeck. Book by Terrance McNally. Direction by Philip D. Vetro. Musical direction by Tom Slowick. Choreography by Lesley Gallagher. Stage managers Aslynn Brown and Heather Maloney. Lighting designer Diane St. Amand. Set designer Clark Bowen.
Running time: 3 hours, with a 15-minute intermission
Show Times: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through Nov. 22.
Tickets: $20, $12 for seniors over 60. Not recommended for children. Call 860-292-6068 or visit their website at
Christopher deJongh … Jerry Lukowski
Ty Pearsons … Dave Bukatinsky
Michael Gowdy … Malcolm MacGregor
Paul DiProto … Harold Nichols
Stephen Jewell … Ethan Girard
Foster Evan Reese … Noah “Horse” T. Simmons
Seanan Ellis … Nathan Lukowski
Melissa Dupont … Georgie Bukatinsky
Kathi Such … Vicki Nichols
Moonyean Field … Jeanette Burneister
Sara Steiner … Pam Lukowski
Stacy Constantine … Estelle Genovese
Dallas Hosmer … Buddy “Keno” Walsh
Khara Hoyer … Susan Hershey
Erin Maloney … Joanie Lish
Tony Palmieri … Teddy Slaughter
Mark Wantroba … Reg Willoughby
Kim Wantroba … Molly MacGregor
Brent White … Marty, repo man
Brianna Mello … Dolores
Sara Papa … Dance instructor
Jonathan Escobar … Stripper, repo man
Ben Chayes … Minister, Tony Giordano
Andrew Holl … Gary Bonasorte, police sergeant

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