Tisch School of the Arts Drama Students Pitch In to Help New Orleans Arts Community
A group of students from the Department of Drama at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has teamed up to stage seven benefit performances of the hit musical The Full Monty to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. The idea is the brainchild of junior Caleb Hammons and sophomore Gary Solomon, Jr., who pledge that half the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the New Orleans CAC Performing Arts Fund, an artists’ assistance project of that city’s Contemporary Arts Center.
The Full Monty will run Monday through Saturday, March 6 - 11 at 8 p.m., with one matinee performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, in the Shop Theatre, 2nd floor, 721 Broadway. Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $5. To order tickets, call 212-217-2040.
The 19-year-old Solomon, a New Orleans native, was so affected by the devastation brought on by Katrina that he decided he wanted to do something to help while still remaining a full-time student at NYU. “Local theatre and the arts had a big influence on me growing up in the Big Easy,” he said. “I was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and only returned to NYU late last semester. My home was destroyed, and it could be more than two years before my family is able to move back.”
He says he encountered some initial resistance to acquiring the rights to produce the musical, but was so determined to make this happen that he decided to form his own limited liability company in order to produce the play. Still getting nowhere, he personally asked for the help of several of The Full Monty’s Broadway production team: Tony-winning director Jack O’Brien, composer/lyricist David Yazbek, and lighting designer Howell Binkley.
The Full Monty, with book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by David Yazbek, is the story of six unemployed steel workers who form a male striptease act, and the women who cheer them on to go for “the full monty” - total nudity.
Solomon, who is executive producing the show, is studying to be a theatrical lighting designer. Hammons, who is the director of the musical, is preparing for a career in directing and design. The two have assembled a production team and cast made up entirely of Drama Department students and alumni.