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Sunday, November 27, 2022
'Full Monty' earns praise, loses clothes

full monty: Thanks to those pesky teacher-student sex taboos, UW-Madison's TAs don't get many chances to show off... well, everything, in a classroom setting. It could be an awkward semester for a few theatre majors.

'Full Monty' earns praise, loses clothes

Generally, teaching assistants conduct their discussions, answer questions and dismiss class. In the Mercury Players' production of The Full Monty,"" however, two UW-Madison TAs will bare it all on stage in 12 shows between now and Sept. 27 at the Bartell Theatre. Starring two UW undergrads and two UW grad students, the hit British musical comedy is funny and full of energy from the first number to the last. 


The musical, based on the 1997 British film by the same name, opens with a meeting of recently laid-off steel-mill workers. Depressed about their current misfortune, the men consider a get-rich-quick gig to regain their pride and better their financial situation. Jerry (Dan Graupner) and Dave (Eric Schoof), two of the recently unemployed men, suggest exotic dancing as a solution after they meet a dancer from their town. Soon enough, the whole group begins an untraditional adventure in male stripping. 


The leading six men all deliver entertaining performances with bubbling enthusiasm. James Macon Grant, a theatre TA, plays an old man named Horse who is still able to shake it. The rest of the cast is strong as well, creating a quirky and dynamic team of characters. 


Its comedy aside, the musical also tells a light-hearted tale of how to love yourself for what's inside. The men of the ""Hot Metal"" strip show learn to be happy with their lives and the people in them without looking like the models in magazines who ""have the goods.""  


The rock-orchestra - composed of Madison artists young and old - set the scenes and keeps the excitement high. The set is simple but allows for great variety and smooth transitions between scenes.  


While this show will appeal to avid theatergoers, it's also sure to lure a broader audience than most musicals. After all, this is a story about average-looking men who drink beer, swear and sing about everything from their perceived inadequacy to their hairy backs. Overall, they're just more relatable.  


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This tale of six unemployed-but-charming men runs Thursday through Saturday each week of this month. Do the guys have the balls to bare it all? Only one way to find out. 


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