Monday, April 23, 2012

"Forever Plaid"

Playwright:  Stuart Ross

Venue:  John Hand Theater, 7653 E. 1st Place, Denver, CO
Companies:  Firehouse Theater Company, Spotlight Theater Company (co-production of both companies)

Date of Performance:  Sunday, April 22, 2012

Disclaimer:  I was one of the throngs of Coloradans who saw “Forever Plaid” at the Galleria Theater in the 1990s.  I saw it multiple times, going back from time to time to share it with friends who hadn’t seen it.  In short, I’m a “Plaid Fan.”  Just wanted to make that clear up front.

I’ll also make clear up front that I truly enjoyed this show.  I laughed.  I sang along with Harry Belafonte’s “Matilda.”  Johnny Ray’s classic “Cry” brought me to the edge of my seat.  I was toe tapping to “Crazy ‘bout ya baby.”  And the audience, me included, loved it all.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it involves four young, eager male singers killed in a car crash in the 1950's on the way to their first big concert.  Lucky for us, though, the have been trapped between life and death long enough to come back and do one great farewell concert.  It’s the “goodbye” concert that they never got to do in life.

That story line may sound a little weak (because it is), but “Forever Plaid” is not really about the story.  It’s about the unforgettable music.  It’s about the innocence of the 1950s (real or imagined).  It’s about a time when, in retrospect, everything was better.  At least that’s how we want to remember it.

“Forever Plaid” requires a highly talented cast.  It requires strong voices that blend into stunning harmonies.  And this cast is so close, but the harmonies could have been tighter.  The cast has the energy, the timing, the moves, the charm, and the humor that makes for a great time. 

Pat Payne’s direction had all the right moves, and the sound and light designs were functional. 

“Forever Plaid” is a Denver area favorite; I’m sure tens of thousands of us saw it in its two runs at the Denver Performing Arts Center.  If you loved “Forever Plaid” at the Galleria, you will enjoy this show at the John Hand Theater.  It’s two hours of non-stop fun, music, and memories. 

NOTE:  This is a family show.  Bring the kids, even if they don’t think they’ll like the ancient harmonies they have never heard on rap radio.

This show runs through May 13, 2012.

Director:  Pat Payne


Timothy Kennedy (Frankie)
Paul Jaquith (Sparky)
Adam Shelton (Jinx)
Ken Paul (Smudge)
Trent Hines (Keyboards)

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