Monday, August 24, 2009

Thong for Hope

ReVision Theatre Company's production of The Full Monty will produce A THONG FOR HOPE a benefit concert for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS on Friday August 29th, 2009 at 11 PM at the Carousel House on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ. 100% of proceeds will benefit BC/EFA in their mission to fight the AIDS epidemic.

A THONG FOR HOPE will include an eclectic mix of musical theatre, contemporary rock and some fun distractions, including a talkback with Jeanette (Broadway's Jane Strauss), where you can ask your favorite character questions you're dying to know answers to! Also included will be one cast member singing in a thong, but we're not saying who....

ReVision Theatre is a non-profit 501(c)3 professional regional theatre company dedicated to producing invigorating theatre with a fresh new perspective reaching the diverse community of Asbury Park and Monmouth County. ReVision Theatre's Producing Artistic Directors, Thomas Morrissey, David E. Leidholdt, and Stephen Bishop Seely, produce reinventions of previously produced classics, overlooked or forgotten work in a new way, and new work with a fresh voice. The company serves as a home for local artists and writers. ReVision Theatre also believes in the importance of theatre education and teaches children and adult theatre classes. ReVision Theatre produces readings, workshops, cabarets, concerts, and mainstage productions. Equity Fights AIDS was founded in October, 1987 by the Council of Actors' Equity Association. Money raised through the efforts of Equity theatre companies across the country was specifically earmarked for The Actors' Fund's AIDS Initiative.

Broadway Cares was founded in February, 1988 by members of The Producers' Group. Money raised was earmarked to be awarded to AIDS service organizations across the country, including Equity Fights AIDS. In May, 1992, Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Cares merged to become Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Unlike most other nonprofit, grant making organizations, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS must raise every single dollar of our philanthropic budget, every year, in order to fulfill our mission. In turn, BC/EFA works hard to ensure that the money we raise is spent carefully and wisely, on programs where these hard-earned funds can have the maximum possible impact.
Single ticket prices are $30.

ReVision Subscribers, students and anyone with a ticket stub from an already played performance of ReVision Theatre's production of The Full Monty pay $25.

Cash or check only at the door, receipts can be made available for tax purposes.

If you would like to donate via credit card, donate online at and bring a copy of your receipt as your ticket.

For more information visit
A Thong for Hope

The Carousel House on the Boardwalk, 700 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Fri August 28th 2009 at 11 PM 

$30 general admission.
$25 for ReVision subscribers, students and ticket stub holders for any already played performance of ReVision Theatre's production of The Full Monty.

"The Full Monty" - Asbury Park - A Full Night of Fun

August 24, 6:24 PM
Newark Theater Examiner
Karen Nowosad

f you are looking for an evening of fun complete with good singing and dancing, then go down to Asbury Park to see The Full Monty. The ReVision Theatre assembled a marvelous cast and has mounted a first rate production of the show.

The scenery and staging are sparse inside the Carousel House, which is in use for the run of the show as a theatre. But the bare bones look on stage works well with the concept of the show. Times are tough for a group of laid off mill workers in Buffalo, New York. They’re struggling to find work and pay their bills. But they are also struggling to reclaim their manhood as they are denied their right to be the breadwinners of their families. Unfortunately, this is all too common a theme today. But fortunately, the story is told with compassionate humor so the audience does not journey down a path of too much reality.

The group of unemployed men who decide to do a one time only dance routine in the local male strip joint is led by Jerry Lukowski played by Scott Guthrie.  Jerry is going through a divorce from wife Pam played by Erin Evers. Guthrie is very believable as the guy who has a heart of love for his son and  interest still in his wife. The son has a load of common sense, which helps in the plot.  Andrew Newsome played the role of the son; he was an absolute delight to watch.

Guthrie is a stand out in the group of men.  He took the role and made the audience root for him. All the men in the cast were fine actors, but another stand out was “Horse” played by Mark Weekes. His audition is funny stuff but musically he is a true “song and dance man.”

The women were continual sparks of enthusiasm and at times, they stole the show from the men. Stephanie Sine showed lots of fire in her performance as Georgie Butatinsky. Her voice was strong, clear, and energetic; just as we suspect Georgie has to be to keep the home fires burning. Katherine Pecevich’s rendition of Vicki Nichols singing “Life with Harold” brought the house down. And what can be said of Jeanette’s antics and lyrical moments? They are showstoppers. The crowd loved her.

Audiences will not be disappointed – the full monty does take place right in front of your eyes. But of course it is done with the kind of discretion and staging that makes you go “oh yes!” and you want to come back and see it all again.

For more Info:  Visit the ReVision Theatre's website.  This show is running Wednesdays through Sundays until September 6.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Naughty and nice: 'The Full Monty' strips down to raunchy great fun

By Peter Filichia, Star-Ledger
August 18, 2009 11:19AM

The show at the Carousel in Asbury Park sure isn't "Carousel."

"The Full Monty," the musical that played the Paper Mill Playhouse in June, is getting yet another production, courtesy of the ReVision Theatre Company. While the set here is not just ugly as sin -- rather, it's as hideous as all 12 mortal sins plus 100,000 venial ones -- the cast is great fun in this raunchy show.

How raunchy? There's more than a dollop of profanity in Terrence McNally's (otherwise solid, amusing and tender) book and David Yazbek's lyrics. With a plot involving six out-of-work men stripping in order to raise much-needed cash, there's also more skin on display than in the average musical.

Yazbek provided the quirky music, too, which is an excellent amalgam of pop rock and genuine show music. Though this is mostly an up-tempo, brassy score (nicely played by a 13-piece band), Yazbek makes room for three beautiful ballads, too.

Scott Guthrie excels as Jerry, the flat-broke father who's as far behind on his child support payment as the Mets are in the standings. His young son Nathan is played by Andrew Newsome, an endearing but not sticky-sweet child actor. Such kids neither grow on trees nor on many stages, so Newsome is to be cherished. So is director David E. Leidholdt for not letting the lad overdo it.

All the would-be strippers score, but Andy R. Jobe is the most impressive. He's Malcolm, who must make a journey from namby-pamby mama's boy to a self-actualized man in love. Jobe does just that. Among the wives, Katherine Pecevich's Vicki has plenty of sizzle as a coddled spouse who turns out to have more character than her husband Harold (the impressive Mark Gerrard) would have expected. So does Erin Evers as Pam, Jerry's ex. McNally was careful not to make her any kind of a shrew, and Evers expertly shows the character still has a great deal of love left in her.
And then there's Jeanette, the veteran of eight marriages whom the men have hired as their pianist. Jane Strauss looks like the Wrath of God with her colorful but eye-offending outfit, and her hair piled atop her head so that it resembles an out-of-control tumor. McNally gave her some sharp lines, but on opening night, Strauss not only got a laugh with all of them, but also acquired applause from most of them.
Too bad, though, that Leidholdt occasionally positions an actor so that the audience can't hear an important piece of information, either because someone's blocking him, or because he's in a too-far-removed place on stage.
Granted, the set used on Broadway and Paper Mill was never attractive enough to pass for the Embassy Ballroom in "My Fair Lady." But at least it was specific enough to let an audience know that it was in such places as a men's room and two posh suburban homes. One can't get the point of the scene of the jokes without knowing the location. What's more, the moment when Malcolm attempts suicidal asphyxiation by carbon monoxide in a car isn't clear because there's only a suggestion of a car.

When one considers those liabilities, "The Full Monty" doesn't seem to be the right show for ReVision. However, with all the talent that the company has on hand -- and how right each actor is for his role -- one can understand why the plucky company just had to do this musical.

The Full Monty
Where: ReVision Theatre, Carousel House, 700 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park
When: Through Sept. 6. Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m.
How much: $25-$50. Call (732) 455-3059 or visit

"Monty" a flying circus at Asbury Carousel

August 19, 2009

Theater folk do love to tell stories of their experiences on the live frontlines of show business — so stop us if you've heard the one about the much-ballyhooed musical revival presented inside an old boardwalk carousel roundhouse.

It seems that just prior to the opening night performance, a beach security vehicle with a stuck throttle rammed into the building, reportedly causing a delayed reaction that resulted in the power going out during a big showstopper number just minutes before intermission — a number completed with the help of flashlights, and followed by an unplanned 45-minute break in which the audience enjoyed lemonade and cool ocean breezes (while frantic crews entertained alternatives like science-project batteries made from lemonade-stand lemons).
Ouch. Too soon? Well, the people of Asbury Park's professional ReVision Theater Company needn't apologize, since they managed against some pretty long odds to wrest a successful opening of "The Full Monty" from the jaws of what looked to be certain disaster — as nifty a recovery as anything we've seen, and accomplished largely through the beyond-Monty efforts of a game cast (with all due credit to a patient and supportive audience).
Although it hasn't quite trickled down to the middle-school or church-basement circuits just yet, the Americanized stage adaptation (by Terrence McNally and composer David Yazbek) of the hit British film has been seen on enough community stages to dampen whatever residual shock value remains from a musical about amateur male strippers. It also helps tremendously that the authors have humanized their characters — a set of unemployed factory workers, divorced dads, and lost souls living in a beaten-down Buffalo — in a way that puts the show's gimmicky central conceit into perfect perspective. While the script doesn't run nearly as deep as other McNally efforts, these guys are a pack of underdogs that you can root for from the start.

Between scoring some pertinent points on the psychological effects of joblessness and despair, "Monty" is essentially a fun party — and director David Leidholdt has played up some of the party-atmosphere flourishes in a way that compensates for the generally low-budget look and rough aspects of the unorthodox (but still engagingly funky) venue at the south end of the boardwalk.

While Scott Guthrie and Adam Kern do a fine job anchoring the cast as broke brainstormer Jerry and his "fat bastard" buddy Dave, the show doesn't really spark to life until the "Hot Metal" dance troupe begins to come together toward the end of the first act (unfortunately, right about the time the lights went out on Aug. 14). The audition-scene intros of painfully bad dancer Ethan (Jonathan Gregg) and, especially, the "Big Black Man" known as Horse (Mark Weekes) are comic highlights that are very nearly eclipsed by the presence of Broadway veteran Jane Strauss, as the dance troupe's chain-smoking, wizened old crow of an accompanist (love those hopelessly dated references to Arthur Godfrey and Buddy Greco).

Apart from that surefire crowdpleaser of a role, the capable female performers in the cast (including such returning ReVisioners as Katherine Pecevich and Deidra Grace) necessarily cede the spotlight to the starring sextet of stripping pals rounded out by humiliated former boss Harold (Mark Gerrard) and suicidal lonely guy Malcolm (Andy R. Jobe). Still, one could make the case that the women literally saved the show on that weird opening night, by whooping up the energy level from the audience in the climactic (and briefly full-frontal) "Let It Go" production number.

Struggling to make ends meet in a harsh economic climate; striving valiantly to mount a slick show in what can be called a "quirky" space, the ReVision producers have every right to identify with their underdog protagonists here. While it's ultimately not going to be the sort of legacy-making choice that last spring's "Kingdom" was, their "Monty" is a fun summer show in a dress-down setting (air conditioned exclusively by nature), best enjoyed in that spirit — or with whatever spirits you can take in beforehand.

Continuing through Sept. 6, "The Full Monty" presents performances at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets, $35-$50, can be reserved by calling 732-455-3059 or visiting

Additional Facts

The Full Monty is Superlative!

By Carlo Durand
The Coaster

August 18, 2009

In 2001 when the musical “The Producers” won its 715th Tony Award (slight exaggeration) many wondered if the hype surrounding the sold- out comedic romp had gotten a bit out of hand. Granted, the show was a joy with irreverent humor and catchy tunes and all, but a growing number of dissenters (myself included) began grumbling that there was a Broadway show tragically unawarded and overlooked due to the Juggernaut of Mel Brooks’ campy blitzkrieg. “The Full Monty” (based upon the award-winning, 1997 British film of the same title) managed to run two years and earned the reputation of being a great show that should have run longer. If you missed out on the Broadway run or simply miss the show, then you are in luck because Asbury Park’s ReVision Theatre’s production of “The Full Monty” is sensational.
F or the uninitiated, the story (the movie is set in Northern England, the stage adapters ,Music and lyrics by  David Yazbek, book by Terrence McNally, have set the action in Buffalo, NY) concerns a group of six unemployed factory workers who decide to form a Chippendales-esque group and strip for badly needed cash, all for different reasons. Heading the cast as Jerry, a man sorely in arrears for child support and in danger of losing visitation with his son, is the talented Scott Guthrie. Mr. Guthrie establishes his presence from the opening moments with a strong, clear voice. He is the ringleader who dreams up this harebrained idea and convinces others to drop trou with him. It takes an actor of great charisma and conviction to make Jerry believable and likeable; Guthrie succeeds on both fronts. His portly best friend , Dave, is played by the lovable Adam Kern. Dave is much more than the traditional “chubby best friend” role. He is a person in crisis with his life. Unemployment, the assuming of house-husband duties, and the loss of faith  in himself and in his marriage (his wife played by the adorable Stephanie Sine) have made Dave miserable, yet Mr. Kern’s performance shows a fully developed character who the audience grows to love more and more throughout the course of the evening.
These two buddies soon enlist the res t of their crew:  Andy R. Jobe plays Malcom, a suicidal security guard with mother issues. Jobe has an amazing singing voice and a wonderfully cartoonish physicality (somewhat reminiscent of Shaggy from “Scooby Doo”). His performance is hysterically funny and remarkably touching. Mark Gerrard plays Harold, the group’s reluctant dance instructor. Harold is in a pickle due to his cash-strapped status and over-spending spouse (Vicki, portrayed with gusto and glamour by the fantastic Katherine Pecevich). Gerrard succeeds well as a man fighting to keep up the illusion of stability while slowly crumbling under the weight of the pressure. His duet (“You Rule My World”) with Mr. Kern , as they sing of their respective loves in their lives was a highlight. Mark F. Weekes portrays Noah (aka “Horse”) and brings a charged vitality to the role of an older man seeking re-discovering his youthful inner boogie and Jonathan Gregg plays Ethan, a hapless oaf who has a habit of knocking himself senseless. Gregg is a wonderful performer with a beautiful voice and expert comic timing.  These six fellows have the unenviable task of not only needing to sing, act and dance but to be in varying states of undress during part of it. The group does not disappoint , particularly at the end of act one when we see them all begin to gel as a performing group thanks mainly to Connor Gallaghers’s exciting choreography . Ho wever the finale is nothing less than electric as the guys truly go for broke and do go “the full monty” which is British slang for “all the way”, meaning buck naked.  The audience was hooting and applauding every member of this delightful cast. The show was directed with finesse by David E. Leidholdt who kept the action flowing seamlessly and guided every performer onstage to memorable moments (particularly local favorite Bob Angelini in his professional debut whose brief “strip audition” was a comic highpoint of the evening). The superlative musical direction was by Andrew Hertz.  The entire evening was a complete and total joy, yet there was one factor that truly helped in firmly establishing this production as a deluxe success. The factor is a force of nature named Jane Strauss. A Broadway veteran with highly respectable credits, Ms Strauss quite simply stole the show as Jeanette, the group’s musical director.  Line by line, glance by glance, gesture by gesture, Strauss delivered comedic homeruns and had the boys onstage and the audience in the palm of her hand.
Since 2008, Revision has established itself as Asbury Park’s resident professional theatre company and in a short time has become well known=2 0for its professionalism and dedication to quality work. Currently the company utilizes the performance space at the Asbury Park VFW Hall (where their celebrated spring production of the hip-hop musical “Kingdom” was staged to raves) and the Carousel House on the Asbury Boardwalk (where “Monty” is now playing). There is a resonating sense of rebirth here. What was once a vacant shell ready for demolition is now heralding a new era for a city. Peter Allen wrote “Everything Old is New Again”. Asbury is coming alive again and no city can truly thrive without the presence of art.  One can only hope that the Carousel House or another empty theatrical venue can soon become this group’s permanent home. They deserve one and the city needs one. In the meantime, see “The Full Monty” and enjoy a bit of Broadway caliber theater right here on the shore.
“The Full Monty”  runs Wed-Sat at 8PM, Sundays at 7PM through September 6th at The Carousel House on the Boardwalk, 700 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712. Call 732-455-3059 for tickets and information or visit

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Full Monty' moves from Buffalo to boardwalk

ReVision takes strip musical from Buffalo to boardwalk


August 15, 2009
For the better part of a week, the old place was positively humming with industry. Carpenters, electricians and painters jostled for room to do their thing, while a once-neglected site creaked back to new and purposeful life under the midsummer sun.

So where was this? Certainly not in the Buffalo neighborhoods of "The Full Monty," the musical adapted and Americanized (by Tony winning playwright Terrence McNally) from the Oscar-nominated British comedy film of the same name. In the script's rustbelt world of silenced steel mills and emasculated husbands, a group of unemployed blue-collar joes, depressed over their lack of prospects and the loss of their status as the family breadwinners, regain their self-worth and cement their bonds of friendship when they go into business as a take-it-all-off male stripper act.

All that activity has actually been going on inside the historic Carousel building, just off the south end of the Asbury Park boardwalk. For the second time in as many summers, the ornate roundhouse structure with the spectacular whorls, arches and screaming siren faces has been refitted — re-visioned, if you will — as a performance space for live theater, with the opening weekend of a new and possibly unique revival of "Monty" that's being presented by the city's resident professional stage troupe, ReVision Theatre Company.

As they did with last year's successful production of "Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical," the ReVision crew has been working with boardwalk developers Madison Marquette to install a state-of-the-art lighting grid, sound system, and an array of seating risers. New in 2009 are waterproofing (and pigeonproofing) improvements to the domed ceiling, and a T-shaped "mini proscenium with thrust" that replaces the in-the-round design employed by "Hair."

All the same, the act of taking in a performance at this truly unique landmark remains an engagingly "frontier" theatrical experience — and, as ReVision's David Leidholdt tells it, the 2000 musical is a "deceptively complicated, conceptual show" that adapts itself well to different staging ideas ("not a lot of costume changes," for one thing).

"As the show's director, I get to brainstorm all sorts of ways to address the challenges and problems," says Leidholdt, one of the three Producing Artistic Directors at ReVision (Thomas Morrissey and Stephen Bishop Seely are the others). "As a producer, I get to tell the director no, we can't afford that!"

Lacking a big budget for special effects, Leidholdt worked with musical director Andy Hertz and choreographer Connor Gallagher to "heighten the musical numbers as much as we can; bump that aspect up a bit."
Although at first glance the selection of "Monty" as the company's summer musical shares with its predecessor a willingness to "Let It Go" in the clothing-optional sense, the ReVision producers would appear to have lucked into (if luck is really the proper word here) the fortuitous downward spiral of the national economy; a backstory that 
puts a hypercurrent edge on the plight of the characters.

"The show is timely and fresh that way," observes Leidholdt, whose own working-class family roots in hard-hit Michigan have lent a personal angle to his approach. "It really deals with these issues of unemployment and depression."

Starring here as the sextet of local guys who vow to beat the Chippendales at their own game are Scott Gutherie (Jerry), Adam Kern (Dave), Mark Weekes (Horse), Andy R. Jobe (Malcolm), Jonathan Gregg (Ethan) and Mark Gerard (Harold). Also in the cast are Broadway vet Jane Strauss as the boys' accompanist, plus returning ReVisionists Katherine Pecovich, Deidra Grace, Judah Gavra and Spiro Galiatsatos — with the company's board president Bob Angelini being persuaded to resume his own acting career in a supporting role. Two young actors from Rumson, Andrew Newsome and Jake Cameron (who appeared in the Two River production of "Macbeth") platoon in the role of Jerry's son Nathan.

Opening tonight and continuing through Sept. 6, "The Full Monty" presents performances at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 7 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets ($35 and $50) can be reserved by calling 732-455-3059 or visiting

Additional Facts THE FULL MONTY By Terrence McNally and David Yazbek Carousel building, 700 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park 8 p.m. today; 7 p.m. Sunday; then Wednesdays through Sundays through September $35-$50 732-455-3059 or

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jane Strauss takes a shot at 'The Full Monty'

by Peter Filichia, Star-Leger
August 13, 2009 15:42PM

Jane Strauss rehearses for her role as Jeanette in the ReVision Theatre of Asbury Park production of "The Full Monty."

Jane Strauss knows she has a tough act to follow.

Last month, audiences were treated to no less than Elaine Stritch as Jeanette, the tough-as-ivory piano player, in the Paper Mill Playhouse's production of "The Full Monty."

That production is dead and gone, but the new staging of the 2000 Broadway hit musical finds Strauss in the role of the pianist who accompanies some well-meaning amateur strippers. She opens for a three-week run on Friday at the ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park.

"I'm sure Ms. Stritch was very good, but I can't worry about her," Strauss says. "Besides, I'm much too fascinated with the character herself. Jeanette doesn't let anyone walk over her. She's seen it all, done it all and conked out in Buffalo. But she doesn't have regrets -- and I admire anyone who doesn't."

Strauss grew up in Abington, Pa., before coming to New York in the 1970s. "I thought I'd be famous in two years," she says dryly. Looking back, she realizes how naïve she was. "I was a snob about commercial theater. In school, I was fascinated with experimental theater and heavy European theory. I even wound up playing Brutus in 'Julius Caesar.' But how can you make a living doing that?"

So she started auditioning for musical theater. "I said to myself, 'I'm going to be on Broadway -- even though I'm average-looking, and I'm not a charming person. Please God! Just give me one Broadway show!"

She got it, playing "a Londoner" in the 1984 revival of "Oliver!" Recalling that, Strauss lets out a heavy sigh. "These days I tell young actresses, don't say, 'Please God, give me just one Broadway credit!' -- because God might grant that specific wish and never give you a second Broadway show."

Since her break 25 years ago, Strauss has been touring. "That means I've played at least six different maids in six different shows," she says. Other roles have included Carlotta in a non-Webber version of "Phantom of the Opera" and understudying Miss Hannigan in "Annie."

She is still angry with the actress who was playing that role. "My parents were going to be in a town when we were there, so I asked her if she'd let me do the role one night so they could see me," Strauss recalls. "Can you believe she said no? Was she afraid some big producer would be in the audience, and she'd lose her big chance? We were only in Lima, Ohio."

At least she and the actress didn't come to blows. When Strauss did a Neil Simon play with Shelley Berman, she claims, "He kicked me because I touched his props. I cried on that one."

In "The Full Monty," Strauss's character admits to having been married eight times. It's a stretch for Strauss.
"I'm an old maid," says the 59-year-old, without a dot of self-pity. "We have a long line of old maids in my family -- though I do have an aunt who got married for the first time at 74."

She stops and thinks. "There was one man I wanted to marry, and I even proposed to him," she says. "This was Larry David, back when he wasn't anyone yet, when we hung around clubs together. You know, I still wouldn't mind marrying him. But it'd be fine if I just spent the next few years drinking carrot juice, having massages and maybe even adopting a foster child. So in that way, I'm very much unlike Jeanette."

The Full Monty
Where: ReVision Theatre, Carousel House, 700 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park
When: Through Sept. 6. Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m.
How much: $25-$50. Call (732) 455-3059 or visit