"The Full Monty" - by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek - Umbrella Arts Center (Concord, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of "THE FULL MONTY" by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek, presented by Umbrella Arts Center in Concord, MA. now playing through May 19, 2024. Photo Credit: Jim Sabitus)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724   

“I'll think of something. I'm not going to sit around while my life goes down the drain..." 

    - ("Jerry") / Terrence McNally and David Yazbek  

Umbrella Arts Center

Presents the Musical


Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek

Book by Terrence McNally

Directed by Leigh Barrett 

Music Director Luke Molloy

Choreographer Najee Brown 

Orchestrations by Harold Wheeler

Based on the Motion Picture released by Fox Searchlight Pictures and written by Simon Beaufoy, produced by Uberto Pasolini and directed by Peter Cattaneo.

Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Ted Sperling

Dance Music Arrangements by Zane Mark

Cast Includes: Michael Levesque as “Jerry Lukowski.” Jackson Wisco as “Nathan Lukowski,” Stephanie Barney as “Pam Lukowski,” Louis Brogna as “Keno/Ensemble,” Tim Lawton as “Dave Bukatinsky,” Andrea Giangreco as “Georgie Bukatinsky,” Will McGarrahan* as “Harold Nichols,” Aimee Doherty* as “Vicki Nichols,” John Breen as “Malcolm Macgregor,” Jacob Thomas Less as “Ethan Girard,” Joshua Wolf Coleman* as “Noah (Horse) T. Simmons,” Jennifer Bubriski as “Jeanette Burmeister / Molly Macgregor,” Tader Shipley as “Estelle Genovese/Ensemble (u/s Georgie),” Sarajane Morse Mullins* as “Susan Hershey (u/s Pam),” Shonna McEachern* as “Joanie Lish/Ensemble (u/s Vicki),” Jeff Mitchell as “Ensemble (u/s Malcolm, Ethan),” James Turner as “Fight Choreographer/Fight Captain/Ensemble (u/s Jerry, Dave).” Swings: Alan Cid and Nora Sullivan.

Additional Creative Team:

Producer - Brian Boruta; Director - Leigh Barrett; Assistant Director - Kat Shanahan; Music Director - Luke Molloy; Choreographer - Najee Brown; Stage Manager - Michael T. Lacey*; Assistant Stage Manager - Liam Horne*; Scenic Designer - Jenna McFarland Lord; Lighting Designer - PJ Strachmann; Audio Designer - James Cannon; Costume Designer - Rebecca Glick; Technical Director - Robert Dew; Properties and Set Dressing Designer - Gabrielle Hatcher;  Stage Crew - Abi Lora; Wardrobe Supervisor - Tree Brock; Scenic Charge - Page Evett; Fight Choreographer/Fight Captain - James Turner; Intimacy Director - Kayleigh Kane; EDI Consultant - Kira Troilo; Company Manager/Health and Safety Officer - Cathie Regan.

 * Appearing through an Agreement between this theater and Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


April 26, 2024 through May 19, 2024

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)

Main Stage Theater 144 

THE UMBRELLA ARTS CENTER40 Stow Street, Concord, MA 01742


For tickets or more information, contact # 978-371-0820 or visit




Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Umbrella Arts Center unveils a funny and earnest musical, "THE FULL MONTY" which, while heartwarming, surely might otherwise cause the occasional chill for some of the performers on the Concord stage. 

"THE FULL MONTY" is not often staged because it contains "brief" (extremely brief) moments of full frontal male nudity. 

This is unfortunate because the nudity is only momentary compared to the delightfully fun story and great music that is present throughout the two act musical. 

If you are a fan of this David Yazbek show, many of your favorites are here and performed faithfully well by the cast.

"Scrap," "Big Black Man," "It's a Woman's World," "Let It Go," "Breeze Off the River," "You Rule My World" and more. 

Tony Award-Winning composer Yazbek not only is a master craftsman of tunes, he is also a master craftsman of "tone" as he always understands the overall tone of whatever project he has taken on.

It was here with "FULL MONTY" that Yazbek began cultivating his reputation for the successful musical adaptation of hit movies.

Yazbek’s expertise is creating an insightful balanced blend of content and intent in his librettos for musical adaptations of non-musical movies. 

He not only respects the original story (whatever story that might be), he eloquently elevates it. 

He has successfully worked this method for other subsequent musical adaptations including “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Tootsie. 

It also gave him his first Tony Award win for "A BAND'S VISIT." 

In this latest staging of "FULL MONTY" by Umbrella Arts, before the show even begins, 80s music plays to a closed curtain, with two "weathered" and vandalized steel panels situated on either side to serve as a constant reminder of when and where we are. 

After the curtain is raised, the "steel theme" continues with an impressive set design replete with more panels, girders, cross beams and scaffolding - all cleverly utilized to depict various locations in the town...and just try not to laugh at the site of a "removable urinal."

The use of specialized lighting and sound effects throughout the production is expertly executed. 

Kudos to the entire creative team for a magnificent set.

(Photo: The CAST of "THE FULL MONTY" by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek, presented by Umbrella Arts Center in Concord, MA. now playing through May 19, 2024. Photo Credit: Jim Sabitus)

This is not an affluent community - this is a struggling Buffalo, New York steel town, hit hard economically by ever-increasing unemployment. 

There are "jobs" - just not in the career in which these laid-off steel workers are trained.

Those jobs are gone and they are never coming back.

That said, there is actually an exuberance - a ‘lilt’ (if you will) - to "THE FULL MONTY" score which would also not be possible without Yazbek’s contributing librettist extraordinaire Terrence McNally who, like Yazbek’s musical approach, produced a faithful book out of Simon Beaufoy’s original screenplay. 

Throughout all the needling, the quips, jabs, insults, foul language, objectification and body shaming that takes place during "THE FULL MONTY" - there is not one moment in this show that feels mean spirited - a tribute to the combined efforts of the above creative trio.

Of course, as to the original story by Beaufoy, some of the rather dated comments and archaic views expressed by some of these characters must be taken as their being a product of a different time - not to excuse but, rather, to help understand and perhaps view with some compassion their respective circumstances. 

Yazbek took the warmth and essence of the heartwarming 1997 motion picture, "FULL MONTY" and, working with book writing master and five-time Tony Award-winner McNally, successfully adapted the film as a stage musical with amazing results. 

There's a ton of great music in this underappreciated show that is chock-full (repeat: chock-full) of gentle good humor. 

For Umbrella Artsthe Yazbek score is executed well thank to the excellent live band conducted by music director Luke Malloy.

Director Leigh Barrett with choreographer Najee Brown have given us a seamless staging for this compassionate view into the lives of inarticulate, simple blue-collar guys just trying to keep their heads above water and their lives together.

Brown also offers some exceptional choreography, especially with the first act closer, "Michael Jordan" and the show's finale "Let It Go." 

By the way, don't bring ANY kids to this show, especially if you think "Let It Go" is the song from "Frozen." 

Trust me, it isn't.

(Photo: Tim Lawton as "Dave" with Michael Levesque as "Jerry" in a pivotal moment from "THE FULL MONTY" by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek, presented by Umbrella Arts Center in Concord, MA. now playing through May 19, 2024. Photo Credit: Jim Sabitus)

"THE FULL MONTY" musical debuted in San Diego before moving to Broadway in 2000, running for 770 performances (35 previews) and closing in 2002

The original production featured Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning actor André De Shields before his landmark role in “Hadestown.” 

Legendary character actress Kathleen Freeman also appeared in what would be her final performance after a long and bountiful career (Freeman would posthumously receive both a Tony Award nomination and Theatre World Award for her performance of delightfully irascible pianist-accompanist “Jeannette Burmeister”). 

How they accomplish this comes from a completely crazy idea, brainstormed by unemployed mill workers and best friends Jerry (Michael Levesque) and Dave (Tim Lawton) who have spent most of the past year-and a-half miserable, out of shape, collecting unemployment and wallowing in self-pity. 

Jerry is separated and desperately trying to maintain child support payments and be involved in his son’s life. 

He sees his precious limited time spent with his son slipping through his fingers and does not know what to do. 

Levesque and Lawton are perfect as the desperate friends.

Levesque shines singing the wistful ballad, "Breeze Off the River" while Lawton tugs at your heart strings with the humorous but melancholy, "You Rule My World."   

Stephanie Barney is steadfast as Jerry's strong, hardworking, ex-wife, “Pam.” 

Andrea Giangreco is vivacious as Dave's devoted, loving wife, “Georgie,” who, while sympathetic to Dave's unemployment, cannot understand her husband's ongoing reluctance to be intimate with her. 

(Photo: The CAST of "THE FULL MONTY" by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek, presented by Umbrella Arts Center in Concord, MA. now playing through May 19, 2024. Photo Credit: Jim Sabitus)

There are no villains, no real "antagonists" in "THE FULL MONTY" since none are required. 

These guys, and the ones we are about to meet along the way, are all their own worst adversaries, creating almost all of their own obstacles for them to overcome - and all stemming from one absolutely insane idea.

After speaking with a Chippendales stripper, Jerry and Dave concoct a plan to produce and star in their own striptease act.

They believe they will make a financial killing - one that may not solve all their woes but will, for the short term, get them some much needed funds and, maybe even a little self-respect. 

As they begin to implement their plan, by chance, they first enlist suicidal Malcolm (John Breen), a security guard from the steel mill where Dave and Jerry once worked. 

The use of the modified front-end of a car during this encounter greatly impresses. 

Breen is eminently funny as the neurotic Malcolm, also displaying a fine tenor voice, especially during the heartbreaking tune, "You Walk With Me." 

Next to sign onto this mad plan is former mill foreman, Harold (Will McGarrahan), who has not disclosed his own unemployment to his loving spendthrift wife, Vicki, played with a blissful ignorance mirthfully by Aimee Doherty

McGarrahan is totally "in step" with the distressed Harold, who finds himself facing repossession at nearly every turn as he maintains his long-held secret from Vicki because he does not (ever) wish to disappoint her. 

When the team hold auditions, they are blessed with pure gold in the form of Noah "Horse" Simmons (Joshua Wolf Coleman), an older Black man who can still cut a rug well given his more advanced years. 

Coleman appears to be quite gifted at much of the more arduous physical humor required for his character, especially during his number, "Big Black Man." 

(Photo: The CAST of "THE FULL MONTY" by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek, presented by Umbrella Arts Center in Concord, MA. now playing through May 19, 2024. Photo Credit: Jim Sabitus)

The final, ahem, "member" to join the struggling sextet is Ethan (Jacob Thomas Less). 

From his very first appearance as Ethan, Less is completely hysterical, with impeccable timing, but then showcases a more tender side, joining in with Breen on the song, "You Walk With Me." 

Helping the undertalented yet unrelenting team is another local, the irascible veteran showbiz performer and accompanist Jeanette (Jennifer Bubriski). 

Nobody knows how she has shown up but it is definitely a comedic blessing she has, because the Jeannette character delivers some of the show's biggest laughs. 

Bubriski is spot on as "Jeanette," giving one of the best performances of the show, which is saying something since all the performances are equal of praise. 

Judging by the long, stirring standing ovation given after the April 27th performance, there is no question that this staging of "FULL MONTY" is a sure fire hit.

For an evening filled with great humor, a terrific score and a dynamite cast and ensemble, don't miss your chance to catch a peek at "THE FULL MONTY" at Umbrella Arts Center now playing in Concord through May 19th

With simultaneous productions happening in Concord with "THE FULL MONTY" at Umbrella Arts Center and "MUSIC MAN" at Concord Players, among other weekend events, it is strongly advisable to come early for parking.

Approximately two hours, 20 minutes with intermission. 

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)




Based on the hit film "THE FULL MONTY" will make you laugh and grab your heart. 

While spying on their wives at a “girls’ night out” a group of unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo hatch a bold and unclothed plan to make some quick cash. 

Six friends. One outrageous idea. And a chance to make their dreams come true. 

Written by Tony Award®-winners Terrence McNally ("Ragtime") and David Yazbek ("The Band’s Visit"), this Broadway hit musical tells a story that’s full of heart. 

You’ll be rooting for these down-on-their-luck pals from Buffalo, and wondering up until the very end if the strength that they find in each other gives them the individual courage to bare it all.

As they conquer their fears, self-consciousness and prejudices, the lovable misfits come to discover that they’re stronger as a group, and the friendship they find in each other gives them the courage to “let it go.” 

Contains strong language, adult themes, attempted self-harm, and brief nudity. THE UMBRELLA ARTS CENTER will continue to provide information and resources about the production and encourage audience members to use their personal judgement about attendance.


THE UMBRELLA ARTS CENTER enriches lives and builds a vibrant and inclusive community through the arts. THE UMBRELLA ARTS CENTER promotes creativity, learning, personal growth, and cultural exchange through accessible arts education programs, performing and visual arts presentations, and community collaborations. 


The Umbrella Arts Center

40 Stow Street

Concord, MA 01742

# 978-371-0820