Dewayne Barrett had no interest in seeing this new show called “The Full Monty.” But he was in New York and someone offered him a ticket to a Broadway preview.
It was back in 2000, an era when, as Barrett said, “They were turning every movie into a musical.”
But he went to see “The Full Monty” anyway.
“After ‘Michael Jordan’s Ball’ at the end of act one, everybody in the audience was on their feet,” he said. “At intermission, I couldn’t wait to get back in for the second act.”
He hadn’t seen the original version of “The Full Monty,” but he loved the musical so much that he sought it out. It wasn’t what he expected.
“I was disappointed that it wasn’t a musical,” he said.
Barrett is directing a new production of “The Full Monty” for Manatee Players. It opens Thursday at the Manatee Performing Arts Center.
The movie, which came out in 1997, revolved around a group of unemployed British steelworkers who form a striptease act. Unlike other male strippers, they plan to bare all. (“The full Monty” is a British expression that roughly translates into the Americanism “the whole nine yards.”)
Of all the shows I’ve ever done, even of all the shows I’ve ever seen, this is my favorite.
Keith Faris, who pays Jerry in “The Full Monty”
The stage musical transfers the action to Buffalo, N.Y., but otherwise follows the story closely.
“The Chippendales are in town and all (the steelworkers’) wives are going to see the Chippendales and spending ridiculous amounts of money,” said Keith Faris, who plays Jerry in the Manatee Players production. “So they say, ‘Why don’t we give them something the Chippendales don’t, which is full nudity?’ ”
Barrett is a Manatee Players regular, but this is Faris’ first show in the area. He moved to Sarasota from Cleveland a few months back.
“I’ve done this show before, in Cleveland,” he said. “Of all the shows I’ve ever done, even of all the shows I’ve ever seen, this is my favorite.”
He didn’t figure he had much of a shot at getting the Manatee Players production, but he auditioned anyway, just to get his foot in the door. Barrett thought he was perfect for the role.
“As soon as he walked in the door I said, ‘That’s my Jerry,’ ” Barrett said. “If he can sing, that’s my Jerry.”
The book of the musical was written by St. Petersburg native Terence McNally (“Master Class,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman”), with songs by David Yazbek (who’s otherwise best known for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”).
The book of the musical was written by St. Petersburg native Terence McNally (“Master Class,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman”), with songs by David Yazbek (who is otherwise best known for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”).
The Manatee Performing Arts Center website warns that the show may contain nudity. Both Faris and Barrett decline to reveal whether there is or isn’t nudity. A big part of the fun of the show, they say, is wondering whether the steelworkers will follow through on their plan. But they say there’s an audience-easing payoff at the end.
Faris said the show is R-rated, though Barrett indicated he didn’t necessarily agree, but he did agree that it might not be a great show for young kids.
Details: April 20-May 7, Stone Hall at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $27-$37. 941-748-5875, manateeperformingartscenter.com.