Friday, June 23, 2017

Annapolis Summer Garden’s The Full Monty Bares All

Written by  Frankie Kujawa

The humidity may be rising this summer, but the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre’s (ASGT) production of The Full Monty is bringing the sizzle. The ASGT, now in its 51st year, remains one of the Annapolis community’s artistic jewels. Having finished its recent production of the musical Sister Act, the ASGT is now tackling the rags-to-riches story The Full Monty. Set in Buffalo, New York, six unemployed steel workers are low on both cash and prospects. While spying on their wives at a girls’ night out, the men realize just how much the women enjoy watching male strippers and hatch a get-rich-quick scheme that is both daring and titillating.

“It’s funny,” says actor Christian Gonzalez, “I’ve been describing this show to my co-workers. A big part of them tend to focus on the fact we’re going to be naked, but this show also has a lot of heart.” Gonzalez, who plays the character of Malcolm MacGregor, added, “I want the audience to anticipate the closing number where we bare all, but I want everyone to walk away saying ‘I expected to watch this but I walked away with a different experience.’ The music is a lot of fun. The characters, the men in the show, are just stuck in this town and life is going on around them but they are stuck in their own stubborn ways about making money.”

Stage Manager Atticus Boidy, chimed in. “Well…we are doing The Full Monty and we’ve received consent from the actors. Audiences won’t see everything thanks to the trick lighting cues,” Boidy laughed. “If I do it correctly you won’t be seeing a ‘Full Monty!’ You will, however see some amazing dances. The thing I like most is the Chippendale factor. The way Mason [Catharini, director] casted it, the actors are your everyday people and I think that speaks to the show. You get to see real people struggling with real things. It has real themes in it. Men that express body issues, which I don’t think is talked about enough. You just assume women have body issues and that’s it.”

A Severna Park native, Boidy added, “You get to hear some crazy vocals. The songs have such a good movement to it. You get to see some really heartfelt moments, too. You get to see the stories of these six main guys and you learn how they have all gotten to where they are.”

This marks the second season that Boidy has been with the ASGT. “My job as stage manager is not so much on the artistic side. The reason it has management in it is because you attend each rehearsal and record all the blocking. You’re the central point of communication between artistic staff, designers, board producers, and keep it all together.”

Gonzalez, who moved to Maryland a few years ago from Northern Colorado, has performed at ASGT in both The Addams Family and as Collins in Rent. “I did a little theater in college, but it wasn’t a big part of my life. Now it’s become this very prominent thing. This year, alone, I’ll be doing four shows.” Along with performing at the ASGT, Gonzalez also sings for the Washington, D.C. Gay Men’s Chorus and will also star in the Iron Crow Theatre’s yearly production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show this fall as Riff Raff.

Reflecting on the enchantment of the location of the ASGT, Gonzalez added. “It’s just a one-of-a kind experience. It’s great space because you’re performing outside and as an audience you can feel the breeze. It sometimes can be a little warm but anything can happen because it’s outdoors. That’s the fun part. When I was in The Addams Family, there was a bat that flew across the stage. Normal theaters don’t have things like that happen. It’s working against the elements and nature and I just love that. That’s one of the most unique things about the experience of this theatre.”

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