ASR Theater ~~ TTC Braves Obstacles with “The Full Monty”

By Cari Lynn Pace

Transcendence Theatre Company is Sonoma County’s award-winning home of song and dance stars under the moonlight. Twelve years ago TTC presented their first stunning summer revue to help fund Jack London State Historic Park, which had been targeted for closure. Their goal of the “Best Night Ever!” succeeded, and to date TTC has donated nearly $700,000 and attracted audiences totaling over 325,000 people to keep this beloved landmark open to all.

Unfortunately TTC’s success with audience attendance has led the California State Park Rangers Association to file a lawsuit against California State Parks. They question the appropriate use of a public resource, noble fundraising notwithstanding. The lawsuit has caused cancellation of all shows this summer, resulting in a major loss for the non-profit that operates Jack London State Historic Park and a blow for TTC, a casualty caught in the lawsuit’s crossfire.

Forced to relocate, TTC presented this year’s first summer shows at Belos Cavalos ranch and their second (and soon to be third) “Broadway Under the Stars” at the Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen. TTC charged ahead with astounding enthusiasm and energy, building a stage, parking area, hiring electric carts, setting up picnic tables and hundreds of chairs, installing lighting and sound, and even building an entire bridge over a stone wall to reach the picnic area.

“It was an unbelievable and difficult undertaking. Expensive too.”

Relocation not once, but twice, was an unbelievable and difficult undertaking. Expensive too. One obstacle TTC could not overcome was the Sonoma County building code. Artistic Director Amy Miller was dismayed to learn they could not build a stage any higher than 30” – not nearly enough for everyone to have a clear view. The stage location also had to be to the west, where the setting sun was problematic for a short while for those without brimmed headgear.

Despite the multiple stumbling blocks, TTC rose to the challenge to present the hit Broadway musical comedy The Full Monty. With a huge cast of 20 talents from the stages of NYC, LA, Texas, and more, this hilarious Tony-award winning musical shows off non-stop fun, and a lot more. Dancers, singers, and young and veteran actors delightfully expose the amusing plot.

Five down-on-their-luck buddies share beers in Buffalo, New York and compare jobs. They’re stunned when their ladies flock to buy pricey tickets to the male striptease show that’s come to town.

(L to R) Nicolas Garza (Ethan Girard), Jason Simon (Dave Bukatinsky), Michael Burrell (Jerry Lukowski), Lee Palmer (Noah “Horse” T. Simmons), Justin Anthony Long (Malcolm MacGregor), and Jesse Swimm (Harold Nichols) in Transcendence Theatre Company’s The Full Monty. Photo credit: Mimi Carroll

One of the buddies comes up with a brilliant idea to raise money quickly, as he wants to retain custody of his son. Why don’t they do the professional strippers one better? They could take it all off and dance their way into much-desired cash. All they need is one show, another brave recruit, a sexy dance routine, and the guts to go through with it to give their audience the “Full Monty,” a striptease down to bare essentials .

It’s hilarious when the guys are coached by one of the professional strippers, who has a bodacious body and the moves women pay to see. It’s endearing how these out-of-shape dudes hang together out of camaraderie and desperation. When their wives and ex-wives get wind of the scheme, their mighty fine female voices add to the merry mayhem—made all the better by a great band seated stage left.

TTC cleverly but briefly exposes the guys in The Full Monty to keep the rating slightly under “X”. It’s an adult show nonetheless. Strict enforcement of the “no photos” rule is done by roving spotters.

The show plays on weekend nights through August 20th. Come early with your picnic to enjoy the pre-show entertainment and sample the wines. When the sun goes down and the spotlights come on, the air can get cool so dress in layers. You can always take off whatever you want.


ASR Writer & Editor Cari Lynn Pace is a voting member of SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and writes theatre and lifestyle reviews for the Marinscope Community Newspapers throughout Marin County. Contact:


ProductionThe Full Monty
Directed byJosh Walden
Producing CompanyTranscendence Theatre Company
Production DatesThru Aug 20th
Production AddressBeltane Ranch
Glen Ellen, CA
Telephone(877) 424-1414
Tickets$35-$49. Student ID rush tickets are 50% off
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review Pick?----