|Katie Gunning (center, holding the blue G-string) plays Joanie Lish, who's single and ready to mingle|
PHOTO by Anne Craft
Everybody loves a feel-good, comeback story. We all root for the underdog, and if you’ve lived in the Detroit area for any length of time, you’ve probably had your own share of ups and downs, whether personally or professionally. That is why The Full Monty resonates with audiences. The musical is set in Buffalo in the Nineties after a plant closing, but it could just as easily have been set in Detroit.
In the Farmington Players production, Katie Gunning plays Joanie Lish, who works with Pam at the factory and is a good friend of Georgie's. Katie describes Joanie as “a single, working girl, and she's definitely ready to mingle. You can tell that she's a little boy crazy and maybe it's because she's looking for the right one or maybe it's because she's just having fun. I like to think it's a little bit of both. She's a lot of fun to play. She's got some great, comedic one-liners, and I'm loving the dancing and singing she gets to do.”
Katie has also had a recent “comeback” in her own life, as she spent much of last year battling cancer. Now that that is behind her, she is “very focused on making 2016 a year where I do things that make me happy and doing this show definitely brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart. I have always had a passion for singing, acting and dancing and this was an opportunity to weave all those wonderful things together. I have met so many wonderful people working on The Full Monty. The cast and crew are all such lovely, fun people, and I feel blessed to get to play with them every week.”
Beyond the wonderful musical numbers, Katie knows that audiences will love The Full Monty because “this show has themes that transcend time: relationship/marriage problems, being unemployed, dealing with the fall-out of divorce and children involved, body image, discovering your sexuality, etc. These are all serious themes, but they're painted in a light where they're easy for people to digest because they're saturated in humor. There is so much comedy in this show, from the conversations to the songs, it's going to have people rolling in the aisles. And even if some people may initially be nervous about the nudity involved, they will quickly find out that they're going to be laughing so much, they won't be uncomfortable, they'll be rooting for all of the characters involved.”
Katie lives in South Lyon and moved back to Michigan in 2011 with her husband after living in New York for 7.5 years. She has worked in fashion, television and radio. Since the birth of her daughter in 2012, Katie has been a stay-at-home mom, saying, “I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be with her every day, even on the days where she is a total three-nager.” Katie’s hobbies include knitting and other crafts, playing volleyball and the piano (not at the same time), and singing karaoke.
The Farmington Players production of The Full Monty is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management. The show is definitely R-rated for sexually suggestive content and language. There are 12 performances from April 29 – May 21. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by contacting the Barn box office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-553-2955.