Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Students, TAs bare all in musical

know that old stage trick where you look at everyone seated in the crowd and
imagine they are all naked so you don’t lose your cool? Well, if you head out
to the Bartell Theatre starting tonight you will no longer have to pretend,
since University of Wisconsin theater students and teaching assistants strip
down with hilarious results  for Mercury
Players’ production of the outlandish musical “The Full Monty.”

one to back down from a challenge, Mercury Players has always taken pride in
performing smaller, abstract plays that are so surprising and cutting edge that
other theaters would not dare touch them. That said, “The Full Monty,” a
mainstream Tony-nominated musical based on an Academy Award-winning film, does
not seem to fit the desired mold at first glance.

sad as it is to say, the fact that the show does end up in a massive?? eight-minute
striptease really did push it into the realm of something that Mercury Players
could justify doing,” said director Pete Rydberg, a second year Ph.D. student
and teaching assistant at UW.


reunites with the same innovative team that concocted last season’s
critically-acclaimed performance of “Reefer Madness” to put on a production
that is sure to be anything but ordinary.

really wanted to find a musical comedy that was not just a slick, shiny,
two-dimensional bit of entertainment, but one that actually had a story and
real people involved in real life drama, and we did find that in this
particular production,” Rydberg said.

Full Monty” is the comedic tale of six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers running
low on money and job prospects. Desperate for some fast cash, they decide to
perform a strip act at the local club in hopes their willingness to go “the
Full Monty — and strip all the way — will draw crowds. Along the way the men
find power in their camaraderie, giving them the strength they need to stand up
against their fears and bear it all.

mid-April, Rydberg and his team have been working to create a show that
captures the humor and timeless music that made the multimillion-dollar
Broadway adaptation a hit, while at the same time adding a more intimate,
personal touch to the overall production.

don’t like to force my ideas starting at a place of someone else’s production,”
Rydberg said. “We wanted all our designers and actors to really own this piece
as something they created — not something they are mimicking — and, therefore,
we have crafted a significantly different show.” 

musical would never have become a reality had it not been for a group of daring
actors willing to let it all go on stage — literally. But for them, it is just
another day on the job.

could have been a very nerve-wracking experience was surprisingly very easy.
Basically, in a situation like that, all you can do is laugh about it,” said UW
senior Jeremy Sonkin, who plays a member of the stripping sextet.

this job application required far more than the willingness to drop your pants.
These actors had to be able to nail both the comedic and dramatic aspects of
the play, hit the right notes on a variety of musical numbers and master an
exceptionally fast-paced, up-tempo choreography all in a matter of months. In
the end, it was all worth it, and the cast is excited to finally display their
spirited work to a live audience.

we get that audience there, the adrenaline is going to get flowing and it’s
going to be the push we need to make this an incredible show,” Sonkin said.

asked how close to “the Full Monty” the guys actually plan on going, Sonkin was
hesitant at first.

is not something I want to give away … but we go ‘the Full Monty.'”

in all, “The Full Monty” looks like it is going to be a performance not worth
missing thanks to a balls-out performance by a
very talented crew.

“The Full Monty”
runs through September 28 at the Bartell Theatre. Visit
for information about tickets and

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