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Letting it all hang out
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Let’s get down to brass tacks: Why should you go see The Full Monty next Wednesday at the Johnny Mercer Theatre instead of renting the DVD and watching the film version at home?

“The live show is an Americanized version,” says Gary Brintz, who plays the character of Ethan in the hit comedy about a bunch of impromptu male strippers. “This show is not so much filled with the British humor.”

But according to Brintz, this musical is as hilarious as the film.

“This thing is a laugh a minute -- and I mean that literally. There’s literally something to make you laugh every single minute of the show,” he says. “The audience just keeps laughing. It’s a three-hour show, but it just flies by. A lot of that length is due to the laughter of the audience, because of course we have to hold for the laughs.”

Brintz is relatively new to the cast of this touring run of The Full Monty.

“I’m only in my second month, so I’m fairly new,” he says. “They only allowed me about two weeks of rehearsal before throwing me in front of an audience.”

But, Brintz says the task has been made easier by the camaraderie of the cast.

“It’s really been relatively easy, mostly thanks to the guys I’m with onstage,” he says. “They’ve been doing the show for the last two years. It’s a real easy environment to learn in, and that’s due to the chemistry of all of us together onstage.”

Brintz says his character, Ethan, is “a real ball of energy onstage -- he provides a lot of the slapstick humor in the show.”

Contrary to popular opinion, slapstick is one of the most difficult things for an actor to do right. How has Brintz managed it?

“Oh, I was well trained growing up by a bunch of hams in my family,” jokes Brintz. “Over the years I’ve kind of learned that drama and comedy are in a sense the same thing -- the key is for the character to be doing what he’s doing in the moment, and not necessarily trying to be funny.”

The hit 1997 film is about six unemployed British steel workers who talk themselves into forming a male striptease act. “The full monty,” of course, refers to the act of stripping down to nothing at all.

Though having an almost unknown cast, the film went on to become the highest-grossing British film in history, raking in well over $250 million.

“The show is about friendship, about being a parent,” says Terrence McNally, Tony Award-winning writer of the stage show’s book. “It’s also about an image-obsessed society that says you have to look like Brad Pitt. This show says quite the opposite. It celebrates everybody for exactly who they are.”


The Full Monty is performed Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Johnny Mercer Theatre. Tickets are $30, $40 and $47. Call 651-6556 or go to