The cast of "The Full Monty." --Photo from the Facebook page of GR Rodis
MANILA, Philippines -- Singer-actor Mark Bautista is set to topbill the local staging of the hit Broadway musical "The Full Monty."
Staged locally by Viva Atlantis Theatricals as its maiden production, "The Full Monty" is based on the 1997 movie of the same title and features music and lyrics by David Yazbek. It is set to open at the RCBC Plaza in Makati on April 19 and will run until May 5.
As Jerry Lukowski, Bautista plays an unemployed mill worker in Buffalo, New York who discovers a way to earn some quick cash by performing as a strip act at a local club.
Jerry is joined by five of his friends in his radical idea, and together they conquer their fears and discover the meaning of true friendship -- but not before stripping naked as a Chippendales-inspired group.
"Actually hindi naman talaga siya sexy play, may gagawin lang kaming daring actually sa last part na. It's daring in a decent way, hindi siya malaswa, hindi siya bastusin," Bautista told ABS-CBN News at a press conference on Wednesday.
On his physical preparation for his role as Jerry, who is on the brink of losing custody of his son to his ex-wife, Bautista said, "Sinabi sa akin na huwag naman magpa-six pack or something, kasi ang role naman namin dito is walang trabaho, na sa bahay na lang, walang budget pang-gym, regular guys."
Veteran theater actor Jamie Wilson, who plays Jerry's best friend Dave Bukatinsky, echoed Bautista's sentiment. "Ako 'yung requirement ko, I play the fat best friend, so bawal ako mag-lose ng weight," he said.
As Ethan Girard in the play, music producer and arranger Nino Alejandro, meanwhile, has had to shed some pounds for his role.
"I wish I had Jamie's role, but my character is requiring me to get in the gym for a while. I'm also on a very strict diet, so it's helping me get ready. We have eight weeks. It's been a while, and it's moving along well," he said.
Singer Marco Sison, who also joins the cast, added, "Since maghuhubad kami dito, siyempre dapat maganda 'yung nakikita sa 'min, so ako meron ding kaunting effort para mag-diet."
Joking that it would be a delight to see his co-actors strip naked, openly gay comedian and TV host Arnel Ignacio said his role as Harold Nichols also entails a considerable amount of physical preparation, not only for the final strip scene.
"Seriously, ang pinaghahandaan dito 'yung energy level mo, the songs, the dancing, and the rigorous rehearsals, so dapat 'yung katawan mo ready," he said.
Singer-turned-theater actor OJ Mariano, meanwhile, admitted that he is uncomfortable with the strip act.
"Ako kasi, personally I'm the type of person na 'pag nagtanggal ng t-shirt sa harap ng tao, I won't do it, because I'm really that shy. But since I'm doing it with five other guys on stage, it wouldn't be a problem. At saka masaya naman eh," said Mariano, who will portray security guard Malcolm.
Chari Arespacochaga, who directs the play, expressed confidence in the cast, saying all six understand the message underneath the daring and comedic layer of the play.
"I am thrilled to have these six men playing these roles in the show. They are exceptionally talented and are so committed to the show... even at this point. They get the joy and the hope that is at the heart of the story," she said.