Director Candi Badanai with six Full Monty men #LSN_Arts
THUNDER BAY, ON --- February 9, 2017 In a rehearsal studio just off Simpson Street, six men get ready to bare all. From looking outside of the Cambrian Players rehearsal studio, you would never guess what is going on side this old brick building. I stepped inside the front door, coming out from the brisk winter air, brushed my shoes off at the door and glanced around the room. The walls are covered in old show posters, pipes from the apartments above crossing under the punched tin ceiling high above us. Random chairs scattered around the edges of the room. The rehearsal studio appears to be as industrial looking as the set being constructed in the middle of the room for the musical they are currently rehearsing. The musical is about a town where out-of-work steel mill workers are looking for a new source of income. It begins on the factory floor as the men get their final paycheque. These men don’t have much hope since the factory closed, but after seeing how their wives and girlfriends react to a traveling show featuring Chippendales dancers, they decide to start their own strip-tease act. And so begins the rehearsal for Cambrian Players upcoming musical of The Full Monty.
As the ceiling fans swirl the warm rehearsal studio air around the room, six brave local actors begin to strut their stuff as they practice a dance routine from the show. Step by step, these six ordinary "ThunderBayites" dance their way through the song and right down to their – “I get asked everyday if the actors are actually going all the way” says Full Monty director Candi Badanai with a smile from ear to ear. “This is a show and movie that is known for its stripping scenes, no wonder why so many women and even men are curious about how much will be shown onstage.”
“There is more to this musical than just stripping” adds Candi Badanai. “The script also deals with the men’s own insecurities, and stereotypes that we put on ourselves and those that others put on us. It really is a wonderfully tender story with heart, and truly beautiful music. Both the script and the music are wonderful – that’s why I wanted to direct this show” said Badanai.
The Full Monty features 25 actors living in Thunder Bay; not everyone was born here, we have one actor from New Zealand, another from Australia, and an actress from southern Ontario, for example. “They all bring tons of talent and new perspectives to the show and that makes it fun to work with” said director Badanai. “Such as Daniel Hannah from New Zealand, who plays one of the six Full Monty men. He has musical theatre experience, but hasn’t been onstage for ten years after moving to Thunder Bay to be a professor. Daniel has been a valuable team member who has kept the actors in tune as our vocal coach.” The five other Full Monty men include Neil Paterson, Lawrence Badanai, Spencer Hari, Elliott Cromarty, and Dennis Dubinsky. They accompany the other 19 talented actors who round out the cast as their wives, girlfriends, and co-workers.
The Full Monty is a story full of heart and “we hope, right to the end, audiences will be wondering if these lovable misfits will really pull it off... all of it off!” grinned the director as we ended our interview.
The Full Monty plays March 1 to 4 & 8 to 11, 2017 at the Finlandia Club. Curtain is at 8:0pm.
Tickets available at: Calico, Fireweed, Steeper¹s, The Red Lion and at the door (Wed. $15 and Thurs.to Sat. $20/adult, $15/student & senior).