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The Full Monty

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From left, Patrick Grossman, Andrew Smith, Joseph Morris, Brodie Centauro, Sean Burbige and Van Whitaker. Photo by William Sheehan

By Charles J. Morgan

Delving once again into the esoteric vocabulary of the theatah, your scribe finds the word “property.” It does not refer to real estate. It means a script. A dramatist finishes writing one, finds a good agent, then some backers, then a director and cast, and it’s on with the show! The property “The Full Monty” has fallen into the hands of the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale and opened last Saturday, May 9.

Now a property is quite different from the actual performance. The director, in this case, the very able Kristen Digilio, has to bring believable characterizations, and block them round the boards in a way that is consonant with the characterizations. This staves off the subtle assaults of that monster, Stasis, the spoiler of all action. Digilio effects this with undeniable skill.

Your scribe is a critic, not a press agent. Therefore, he must take under his responsibility all, repeat all, aspects of theater he sees while assigned to review one particular play. Your scribe will take on one for outstanding criticism. It’s the property and only the property. One proem however, your scribe was not the model for Augustus St. Gaudens’ statue The Pilgrim. Your scribe is not the one who is haunted by the fear that somewhere, somebody is smiling. Therefore, he is constrained to label the property filthy, auto-erotic, erotic, lascivious, puerile, skatological and concerned with one thing and one thing only: male genitals seen and unseen. The audience’s deeply pejorative reaction was force-fed to your scribe. The non-stop screaming, hooting, boisterous demands for more,the feigned laughter; all of it came from apparently mature women.

But then there was some acting. Brodie Centauro as Jerry has a smooth tenor voice, revealing an aura of pliant lyricism in the upper register. He is the idea man who recruits five co-workers to form a male stripper group along the lines of the famous Chippendales. All this because he found out that his wife and some of his friends’ wives had, on “girls night out,” gone to see the Chippendales. The plot line for the rest of the show is “will they or won’t they go the full monty?”

Sean Burbige, Joseph Morris, Andrew Smith, Van Whitaker and Patrick Grossman complete the “sex-tet.” Choreography was also by Digilio, another tribute to her talents. A cameo was offered by Linda Pentz as a smoking tough-old-broad, beautifully executed. It even reminded your scribe of Sophie Tucker. Brava Linda.

In Act I, “It’s a Woman’s World,” despite scurrilous lyrics, was rendered by Jessica Ader-Ferretti, Heather Van Velsor, Bidalia Albanese, and Emily Dowdell (who also doubled as Molly MacGregor quite efficiently). This was “balanced” by a monument to flaccid machismo by Centauro and Burbige. Their harmonizing? Great. In Act II, the finale, “Let it Go,” done with great power, told it all.

As usual, Matthew Surico led a phenomenal 12-piece outft, making good use of trombonists Chris Zatorski and Chris Parrella as well as percussionist Jared Shaw.

A bit of fairness: Aristophanes in his “Thesmophoriazusae” and “Lysistrata” was raunchy. Martial and Juvenal titillated Roman crowds. Tennessee Williams in “A Streetcar Named Desire” had Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy going at it. So?

The CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale will present “The Full Monty” through May 27. Tickets range from $20 to $29. For more information, call 631-218-2810 or visit www.cmpac.com.