This one's for Melinda... and the cast of The Full Monty!
Melinda- The Connection Let It Rock
I Want You Back- The Plimsouls The Plimsouls... Plus
Out of the Blue- Buzzcocks The Way
Little Runaway- Radio City Class of '77
Motel Girl- The Greatest Liar The Girl With The Chestnut Eyes
I Don't Know You Anymore- Bob Mould Beauty and Ruin
Hold On To The Night- Starz Attention Shoppers!
Make It Happen- The Chevelles Girl God
^I Want You Back- Hoodoo Gurus Stoneage Romeos
The Joke's On You- Shoes Ignition
Wait A While- The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams
When Your Eyes Meet Mine- Warm Soda Young Reckless Hearts
We Vibrate- The Vibrators Pure Mania
Don't You Want It- The Quick Mondo Deco
*I Want You Back- The Leftovers Eager to Please
*I Want You Back- The School Let It Slip EP
*I Want You Back- The Shivers More
*I Want You Back- The Hot Rocks The Hot Rocks
*I Want You Back- City Thrills City Thrills EP
*I Want You Back- Chad VanGaalen and Xiu Xiu The Green Corridor II
Smirk- The CRY! Dangerous Game
Animal Instinct- The Twisteroos Twisted!
If Only Alan Won The Pools/Seven Years In These Boots- Denzil Pub
>I Want You Back- Graham Parker Local Girls 45
Take a Chance- The Late Show Portable Pop
Crime Scene- Kevin K Band Rule The Heart
Get It Moving- Raspberries Raspberries
Open Wide- Chris Von Sneidern Sight and Sound
Ain't That Beat- The Nice Boys The Nice Boys
I Want You Back- The Kooks Inside In Inside Out
^Power Pop Peak: #3 College Radio Charts 7/15/84
*SacroSet: Songs Called "I Want You Back"
>Power Pop Prototype: 1979
If you've been following along on facebook, you know that the main reason for the dearth of new ALL KINDSA GIRLS episodes in the last month or so is that I was cast as Harold Nichols in eTc!'s production of The Full Monty in this year's Sonoma Theatre Alliance Festival. One of the things that made this show different is that Cat the director and James the producer decided to cast a wide net for actors, hiring several professionals. I got to work with people from across the country (New York, Connecticut, Virginia) and the Bay Area (Sacramento, Oakland, Santa Rosa, Napa) along with some local Sonoma actors and crew I've known for years.
The cast also included a young woman named Brooke who appeared on Broadway in both Hairspray and Beauty and The Beast. My daughter Nica is a huge Hairspray fan and was quite impressed when I told her I was in a show with the girl who played Penny, as in "Penny Pingleton is positively, permanently, punished!" Even more impressive Brooke played the lead role Belle in Beauty and The Beast. Not only talented, she is a genuinely nice person- during a six hour rehearsal one night she bought pizza for the cast and crew. And I'll never forget the cast party at our house a few weeks later watching Nica and her friends beam with joy as Brooke and Jim (who was Ethan in Monty and had auditioned for the Hairspray touring company) performed the dance from "The Nicest Kids In Town" in our living room.
|eTc!'s Rocky Horror Show 2011|
|etc!'s The Full Monty 2014 song "Scrap"|
For more than a month we had stand-ins for the out of town
actors but as each of them arrived, within a day or so they had seam- lessly melded into the production. (Four of the six Monty men had played their roles before, so that certainly helped.) Even after three times as many rehearsals, I was struggling to keep up with them- the way they were able to instantly memorize difficult vocal harmonies and complex choreography was awesome to behold. Myself, I'm in more of the "grind it out" school. Kevin the music director had me record all my vocal parts on my iPhone and I went over them about a thousand times before getting them down.
|"Michael Jordan's Ball"|
|"You Rule My World"|
While The Full Monty is a musical comedy, Cat the Director had us play the dramatic scenes straight. Initially this felt like a bizarre mash-up of Chekhov and Sondheim but she was absolutely right. The drama helped keep the show anchored and relatable, making the lighter moments that much more fun. Of course the only question folks in town had when I told them I was in show was "well, are you going to go the Full Monty?" People know the movie much more than the musical so at the outset their questions are all about the wangs. The standard answer was "buy a ticket and find out" but inside the production I don't think it was clear until tech week.
|Vicki and Harold in his Funeral Suit|
|"You Rule My World" Reprise and Wardrobe Malfunction(s)|
The Costumers Amanda and Deb gave us our red g-strings a few days
|Imagine this with LESS fabric!|
|"Let It Go"|
So, the question is how do you honor the production without searing the image of six wieners onto your audience's retinas? The answer, as it so often is in theater, is lighting. It comes down to brightness and timing. Like most productions, we had a lit Full Monty sign behind us for the finale but it wasn't going to throw the kind of blinding brightness we needed for proper coverage. So, the experimentation began. The final week we probably spent five hours on the half-second light cue that closes the show. Connor the lighting designer eventually decided to go with less rather than more light and we locked the cue in with our choreography.
I'd like to say it was smooth sailing from there but at the opening night gala benefit at the 323 seat Sebastiani Theatre... well let's say if people are looking at me funny at the bank or Sonoma Market these days at least I know why. I'll never forget hearing RJ, who played Dave, yell "NO!" when we turned for the final reveal. Yet like good soldiers we went for it anyway, despite what was clearly the wrong light cue. That's live theater for you. On the plus side, everyone LOVED the show and a lot of people said they didn't see anything. I figure that if only half the sell-out crowd was close enough to see, that's 161 people and dividing their attention between the six Monty Men means only about 27 people potentially saw my naughty bits that night. I like those odds!
I'm happy to say the light cue was perfect the remainder of the run at Andrews Hall. Even the women in the cast, who are right up at the front of the stage, said they couldn't see anything but silhouettes. Perhaps they're just being polite- but after all we've been through together I believe them.
|I'm last guy on the left.|
I am so thankful to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew. The Full Monty is an experience I will never forget.
(BIG thanks to Peter for taking the pictures for this post and to Susan for burning them all on a disc for the cast and crew-you guys rock!)
Streaming/download links for this week's All Kindsa Girls are below (to download right click and "Save Link As")