Italy Remakes The Full Monty Musical
words by Carol King
Italy is staging its own version of the ‘The Full Monty’ musical comedy adapted to fit the hard times facing the country.
Among the cast are Spanish actor, singer and model Sergio Múñiz, Italian actor and singer Jacopo Sarno, and Italian actor and presenter Paolo Ruffini. The possibility of the pin-up stars appearing Chippendale-style has lead to the Italian media talking of raising the level of sex appeal to that of the Sistine Chapel.
The old hands are joined by two men making their stage debut after being selected from Italy’s unemployed. Factory worker Marco Serafini and carpenter Simone Lagrasta won parts in the show after attending auditions.
The British film ‘The Full Monty’ proved a smash hit around the world when it was released in 1997. It went on to scoop an Oscar for Best Original Musical Score and was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2000.
Italians have adapted the original story, which followed the fortunes of six unemployed men in Sheffield, England, who find fame and fortune when they form a striptease act. The Italian show tells a similar story about a group of unemployed workers after a wave of layoffs by the manager of a large factory.
‘The Full Monty’ Italian style moves the setting from an industrial England in the new millennium, to the industrial area of Turin with its many unemployed. The story mirrors the fate of workers across Italy. Car manufacturer Fiat is based in Turin: in January, the company asked the Italian government to approve a special lay-off scheme at its Melfi plant in southern Italy for two years, so it can restructure the plant before beginning production of new models.
The Italian revival of ‘The Full Monty’ is mounted by PeepArrow Entertainment. Publicity for the show recognises that work and unemployment were hot topics in Italy during 2012, and may continue to be for the next decade: “Staging a musical today only makes sense if it’s hooked strongly into the social reality that the country is experiencing.”
The show adopts the book by Terrence McNally and score by David Yazbek used for the Americanised stage version of the movie. However, the lyrics have been adapted to fit contemporary Italy referencing the infamous financial ‘spread’, a word that has become common parlance in Italy to explain the adverse economic climate.
‘The Full Monty’ opened in Civitavecchia, Rome in late January. It will tour Italy through April, with performances scheduled in many of Italy’s cities including Milan, Bologna, Turin, Genoa, Florence and Bergamo.