Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 6, 2013

ACT "goes" Full Monty, gears up for Parton show

Auditions for 'Best Little Whorehouse' next week

By Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

---- — On the heels of a two-night performance of The Full Monty, ACT Andover will launch into auditions next week for its next adult-themed performance, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Meanwhile, the ACT youth theater group, ACTjr is a month away from its spring performance of Seussical, a musical with "characters from a lot of the books (children are) familiar with, Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, The Who from Whoville. They're all in the musical," said Mark Gracy, executive producer. The performance coincides with National Dr. Seuss Month.

The Full Monty, performed by ACT Andover's adult cast on Jan. 25 and 26 at the Sullivan School in Lowell, tells the story of six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers who, low on both cash and prospects, decide to present a strip act at a local club.

"The cast does a wonderful job showing how these characters grow and become self-confident and more aware of themselves," Gracy said. "It really centers around tough economic times and how these guys and their families and their friends are struggling, and what they do creatively to solve problems they're having."

They're so creative, they eventually leave nothing to the imagination. In the final scene of the show, the cast performs "Let It Go" and the men go "full monty," removing all their clothing.

But rest assured, ACT's performance was age-appropriate. Stage techniques are used with intense lighting to give the impression that the actors' presence on stage is blinding.

"It's more the illusion of it, but they don't actually see (nudity)," Gracy said.

In their next production, the adult cast will take on The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, based off the movie of the same name starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.

In that musical, the audience follows the story of a brothel exposed by a televangelist who, ultimately, blows the lid on the entire operation, according to Gracy.

Auditions for the musical will be held on Feb. 12 and 13 at ACT's headquarters at 250 Canal St., fourth floor, in Lawrence. The group casts for their adult shows based on the age of the characters, so it's expected that all cast members will be young adults or older, Gracy said.

To end the year, ACT's adult cast will be the first group in New England to put on a production based on the recent Les Miserables movie, as ACT is the first group in the region to secure the rights to the musical following the release of the movie, according to Gracy.

Auditions for Les Miserables will run over the summer, with performances to be held at the end of October, Gracy said.

Once ACTjr's Seussical is in the books, the organization will then start building up for its ACTjr and ACTkids camps, which will both run from July 15 to Aug. 11.

ACTjr will put on the musical RENT, with ACTkids performing Disney's The Little Mermaid.

For more information or to take part in one of ACT's productions, visit actandover.com. For more information on next week's auditions, email cara.kennedy@actandover.com or theater@actandover.com.