Premiere issue Autumn 2002

'Full Monty' comes full circle

See review of "The Full Monty."

It's getting to be a regular option for Southern California theater audiences: If you miss the latest regional hit, simply wait for it to move to Broadway, score big there, then return to town as a touring show.

Following in the shoes of "The Who's Tommy," which began life at the La Jolla Playhouse before conquering New York and then came back as a touring show last year, "The Full Monty" returned to San Diego in early October — where it started off at The Globe Theatres two years ago.

In the intervening years, of course, "The Full Monty" — based on the 1997 hit movie of the same name — went on to rave notices and sold-out shows in both New York and London. Typical of such success is the Broadway national tour, which travels city to city, usually staying a week at a time.

Full Monty — original cast
Andre De Shields and Kathleen Freeman from the original cast

None of the original cast members are with the touring show, although it is still following The Globe's original book by Terrence McNally, and The Globe's Jack O'Brien is still listed as director. The show is also still following the original choreography of Jerry Mitchell ( who also choreographed the current Globe hit, Nora Ephron's "Imaginary Friends" which is also headed to Broadway when done at the Globe).

In an e-mail interview, Mitchell said the current cast — which he caught at a recent San Francisco show — is as good as the original cast from the Globe and Broadway runs.

"They are true to the story, and they deliver it with honesty and truth," he wrote. "They also sing their parts brilliantly and dance just as normal as the original guys did. And for me that is very good. They have some differences but those are to be expected and embraced in finding originality in any characterization."

While the Globe's main theater where "The Full Monty" was last seen in San Diego is much smaller than the Civic Theatre where this nationally touring production is appearing, Mitchell (best known for his work on "The Drew Carey Show") said he doesn't think that will affect the audience experience.

"When you create a show at The Globe, the goal is to get it right there. If you do that it should be able to play any theater any size anywhere."

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