BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot Theatre is going full monty. Or will they? The audience of “The Full Monty” soon will spur on six unemployed men from Buffalo, New York, who are in need of money. To support themselves and their families, they will need to take it all off.
“The audience is not there to see if guys will go the full monty, but they are cheering them on because they watched those six story lines … and at the end they want us to succeed,” Reggie Whitehead, the actor portraying the character Noah (Horse) T. Simmons for the sixth time, said.
Ethan Paulini, an eight-performance veteran of “The Full Monty,” is directing and choreographing this production. Paulini joked with his actors, saying the characters aren’t wizards or animals — they are people the audience is going to relate to and root for.
“This is a play where you’re playing people that you probably know. You’re playing mothers and fathers and members of the community,” Paulini said. “It’s all about honesty.”
“I think the audience is going to relate to this so much because these guys are awesome, good-looking guys, but they’re not magazines,” Aimee Gerow, who plays Pam Lukowski, said.
This musical is bursting with jokes but Gerow said it is very “hard-hitting” because of its honesty. They aren’t “ken dolls.” They are six men with insecurities who are self-consciousness and have to overcome those struggles to succeed.
“You come here ready to laugh, and you laugh a lot, but then also you watch that scene and it makes you think or you root for a character in a way that you didn’t expect to root for a character or you see a perspective that you haven’t experience before,” Paulini said.
Ben Layman, who plays Dave Bukatinsky, said he feels a particular connection to his character.
“My character’s feelings are exactly my set of feelings about approaching the show and doing what I have to do in the show — mainly, that he really does not think that someone of his size should get naked in public. That is something that I am dealing with 100 percent,” Layman said.
The actors say “The Full Monty” doesn’t discount the women in the six men’s lives. The story follows their relationships with one of the first songs titled “It’s a Woman’s World.”
“The Full Monty” was first released as a British film based on a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy in 1997. The movie that won an Oscar for Best Score. In 1998, “The Full Monty: A Novel,” by Wendy Holden was released. Since then, “The Full Monty” has also been adapted as a musical and a play. Attendees will recognize iconic moments of the film in Penobscot Theatre’s adaptation, but it will follow the musical version written by Terrence McNally the most, Paulini said.
“This is Buffalo, these are working-class guys, so it’s got a more, sort of, American feel,” Paulini said.
“The Full Monty” will run from June 15 to July 9. Tickets can be bought at the Bangor Opera House or on Penobscot Theater Company’s website.