Naked men, with hats

There are few things crazier than the backstage of a big, live show. 

It is a busy, seemingly chaotic place where set pieces and props move in and out, all while actors are changing costumes, sometimes even characters in a matter of seconds, not minutes.

Such is the case with our current production, The Full Monty, a play about six unemployed steel workers from Buffalo who decide to put on their own Chippendales-type strip show after seeing their wives go nuts for a strip show featuring chiseled men from out of town. 

Read more about the Full Monty, Full Monty bares all 

In the show, the idea of a one night show seems great in theory, especially when they “don’t have a pot to piss in”, but when it comes down to pulling their clothes off, it is revealed that men have many of the same insecurities about their bodies that women do. 

The Full Monty is genius because through the stripping, the women discover that there is a whole lot more to men that meets the eye. This message seems to have resonated with our audiences who gave the stellar cast standing ovations at three out of four of our opening weekend shows.

There is a lot to think about when you add stripping to the requirements of an actor. The finale is particularly terrifying as it takes the men all the way down to absolutely nothing but their hats. 

It got me to wondering, is this a gig that the actors regret now that they are a week into performances? I asked the guys what their thoughts were on revealing all, and here is what they told me:

"This show knocks my socks off. And my underwear!” ~ Cory Armour, who plays Dave

“I decided I should go “all out” in my performances of this show.  To those who offer constructive criticism of my performance or my body I say, “Hat’s off!” ~ Vince Walczak, who plays Horse

“As Jerry would say, “If I’m gonna pull this off, I need all the confidence I can get. In two weeks I am going to be in front of a thousand women without my clothes on.” I have to say the support I’ve received from everyone involved in the show has given me the confidence to get out there and perform, on so many levels. The girls have been GREAT.” ~ Brad Hull, who plays Jerry

“It’s difficult to put into words, but this show is amazing, scary, challenging, and rewarding for me, a bucket list kind of performance. It is far easier doing The Full Monty in front of an audience than in rehearsal, and our houses have been so supportive. This really is a must-see show (so to speak).” ~ Ray Mordan, who plays Harold

“After months of preparations and rehearsals, The Full Monty has truly been an amazing experience. I've never had problems taking off my clothes onstage before, but baring it all is a different story. With such amazing support from the cast and crew, and the professionalism of everyone, it became easy and eventually, fun. Entertaining others and hearing them laugh and enjoy the performance we are giving them is the icing on the cake. Not to mention the screams of support as well. Thanks everyone for this fun, liberating, confidence building experience. I couldn't have done it without you.” ~ Graham Daley, who plays Malcolm

There are also two women in our cast of The Full Monty that know all about baring it all during a show. Aletha Currie and Tamara Ross are in our current production, but also stripped down during our very first production, Calendar Girls. Here is what they had to say:

“(Being in Calendar Girls) was very liberating, and I was less critical of myself and others after. I think our Full Monty guys rock it!” ~ Aletha Currie, who played Joanie in the Calendar Girls

“Calendar Girls was an empowering, liberating experience. The bonding of the woman, as well as the acceptance of our bodies, was an experience that resonated through all of us." ~ Tamara Ross, who played Georgie in the Calendar Girls

Life coaches often say, “Do something that scares you every day.” Certainly there can be little scarier that baring it all to a live audience, but I have witnessed a liberation in all of the men, and a new confidence as well. It is one of those experiences in which, as the finale song goes, you really must sometimes ‘Let It Go’. It’s alright to accept who you are, and love yourself for it.  


If you have not already seen The Full Monty, it only runs for one more week, nightly April 20-23 at 7:30 pm, and then on Sunday, April 24 at 2 pm. 

Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door, and are very limited in numbers for weekend shows.  

Get tickets now from The Rotary Centre for The Arts Box Office or on their website. For more about The Full Monty and New Vintage Theatre, click here.

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About the Author

Bonnie Gratz is an actor, director, and playwright. She is the Artistic Director of Kelowna's New Vintage Theatre, and a member of the Playwright's Guild of Canada and The Literary and Dramaturges of North America. 

For more on Bonnie, check out www.bonnie-gratz.com or check out www.newvintage.ca

Contact Bonnie at:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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