Saturday, February 2, 2013

Forever Plaid at the James F. Dean Theatre February 1, 2013-Riotous Fun For All

In the 1950's, I was very young. At most, by 1959 I was 10 years old and in elementary school grade 5. Prom night for me was yet in the distant future. Unknown to me at the time, as I hula hooped my way to fame and batted my wiffle ball around my yard, I would be part of a generation that would usher in a time of great cultural change, both socially and morally. Yes, I hula hooped and I was very good. Poodle skirts, greased quiffs, and brightly colored clothes were popular. The infamous bikini was beginning to make its appearance.

The music of the time reflected both the changes that were being nurtured while tentatively still holding on to the societal norms of the past. The Beatles were an English rock band quietly making a name for themselves in the clubs of Liverpool in preparation of setting the music world on fire. This was the backdrop that inspired the off-Broadway musical revue written in 1990 by Stuart Ross in New York called Forever Plaid.

The Plaids were a quartet of high-school chums with dreams of recording an album. Their aspirations ended in a collision with a bus filled with Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles' American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The play begins with the Plaids returning from the afterlife for one final chance at musical glory. Standing before a packed house, the four of them apprehensively evaluate their unexpected predicament and seized the moment.
With plaid bow ties and cumber buns, John Black(Jinx), Robert Culbreth(Francis), Jonah Klixbull(Sparky), and Christopher Williams(Smudge), each with a their own distinct and unique personalities, took to the stage on the night of February 1st in the James F. Dean Theatre and won the hearts of the largely senior audience who gave them a resounding standing ovation at the end. They sang a long list of songs near flawlessly accompanied by Richard Davis on the piano and Ken Gee on the bass. Their comedic choreography was humorous and at times down right hilarious. Robert, nice touch on the short legged pants.

A sincere actor's commitment is to give their best performance regardless of the size of the crowd, but any actor will tell you when a theater is packed out and aroused it lifts them to higher levels of empowerment. To quote one of the cast members,  "The audience was energized, so we were feeding off their energy."

At one point, they pulled an apprehensive young girl from the crowd who graciously submitted and surprisingly danced very well. It was equally amusing to watch the older couples in the audience thoroughly enjoying themselves. My friend, who is not easily impressed, couldn't resist the contagion and added a few robust chuckles to the chorus of laughter. A few of my favorite songs performed were Perfidia, Sixteen Tons, Jamaica Farewell, and Matilda, Matilda.

Congratulations to the entire cast and production team for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Despite the fact many of the songs were unknown by me, after all I was just a young kid in the 50's, this was by far one of the more entertaining productions released by the Flowertown Players. I recommend it to all. Go to Forever Plaid for show times.

After party at the Ice House with the cast

No comments: