‘The Full Monty’ brings a full house


SalmaPaola Baca

The Full Monty showing at the UTEP Dinner Theatre from April 21 to May 7. 

Erik Acosta, Staff Reporter

With the semester winding down, the UTEP Dinner Theatre decided to end its 40th anniversary with a bang, performing “The Full Monty.” With a packed opening night, the award-winning musical opened April 21, filling the air with laughter and cheers.  

Based on the Academy Award-nominated film, the musical offers its audience a journey exploring friendship and self-respect with its famous score and dance sequences to ensure a grand old time.  

The story takes place in the late ‘90s in Buffalo, New York and centers around a group of friends, one of them, Jerry (John Levick), is looking for money so he can pay for child support to see his son. He soon comes up with an idea to start a strip tease act with the help of his buddy Dave (Zaid Ricarte).  

Soon Jerry and Dave find four other men as well as his former boss to join his group; Malcom (Angel Rodriguez), Horse (Allen Thompson), Ethan (Ulises Cordova) and Harold (Freddie Nevarez). Together these men dance and strip their way into the audiences’ hearts, leaving them wanting more.   

With the show’s closing number around the corner, the strip tease act took center stage to perform their number, entertaining the audience with laughs and ending the show on a high note.    

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  • The production is based on an Academy Award-nominated film based on the same name.

  • The story takes place in the late ‘90s in Buffalo, New York and focuses on a group of friends including Jerry, a man looking for money to pay for child support to see his son and comes up with the idea to strip tease.

  • The production is based on an Academy Award-nominated film based on the same name.

  • Characters include Jerry who is played by John Levick, Dave played by Zaid Ricarte, Gerogie played by Chloe Curtis, Paym played by Elise M. Herndon, Vicki played by Keri Baggs, Jeanette played by Carol Viescas, and Nathan played by Kal Spencer.

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An El Paso native, Anna Rodarte, went to see the show with her mom and considers the experience to be worthwhile.   

“I thought it was such a great show, it was really well produced, and it looked very well-rehearsed,” Rodarte said. “My favorite part of the show was all the musicals, I am a big fan of musicals, so it was great to see it live, and I would come see it again just to get the same experience. I feel like if you watch this show over and over again, it would be funny as the first time.”  

Other characters to mention are Georgie (Chole Curtis), Pam (Elise M. Herndon), Vicki (Keri Baggs), Jeanette (Carol Viescas) and Nathan (Kal Spencer) who all had standout performances throughout the show.  

As the last few performances start to wind down, one special star, Zaid Ricarte, who plays Dave, enjoys every moment on stage as he will be graduating soon and will leave a place he considers home.  

Joining the UTEP Dinner Theatre in 2017 during its 35th anniversary, Ricarte always wanted to perform. Since then, his dreams have come full circle as he performed in every show that the Dinner Theatre has put on.  

“I always loved performing, ever since I was little, I have a memory of having a little karaoke machine that I used to use a lot,” Ricarte said. “When I found out about auditions in 2017 for the Addams family here at the Dinner Theatre, I was like ‘I have to do this,’ and ever since then I been lucky enough to do almost every show.”  

Ricarte feels the happiest when he is on stage and recalls the excitement of seeing an audience smile or laugh throughout his performances as one of the most rewarding moments for him.   

“This show really gave me an excitement and a security in myself that I don’t think I have ever found before, and I think performing just makes me really happy and excited,” Ricarte said. “And sometimes when I look out in the audience during the finale or bows, it really makes my heart happy and warm to see people really enjoying the show.”   

With this show being his graduating performance as a UTEP student, Ricarte still has plans to continue acting in hopes of doing it professionally, as he considers his dinner theatre experience the most rewarding thing he has done.  

“I am excited mostly for the future and what’s to come, I have also become very emotional ever since we started this rehearsal process and doing things for the last time as a student, and I owe a lot of myself and training to the UTEP Dinner Theatre,” Ricarte said. “This show, role and anniversary has been a very full circle moment for me, it has been rewarding and I’m excited to come back so I can give back to this place that has taught me so much.”  

As closing night approaches, Ricarte will always cherish his experience and the friendships he has made here. He considers Gregory Taylor, Beverly Kerbs-Ward, and Jaime Barba as professors who have impacted him and his learning.  

“I owe a lot to myself and who I am to this place, to my teachers and I think a lot of my college identity and experience was fermented here, I created so many friendships here,” Ricarte said. “So, on closing night, I think I’m going to feel sad just because it has been a big part of my life over these past years, but I am excited on what’s to come.”  

The Full Monty still has a couple of shows remaining, so take a friend or a family member and do not miss out on this musical which closes May 7. For more information about tickets and hours, visit the UTEP Dinner Theatre website.  

Erik Acosta is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]