|Productions||1989 New York City|
The show is a revue of the close-harmony "guy groups" (e.g. The Four Aces, The Four Freshmen) that reached the height of their popularity during the 1950s. Personifying the clean-cut genre are the Plaids. This quartet of high-school chums' dreams of recording an album ended in death 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 revue begins with the Plaids returning from the afterlife for one final chance at musical glory.
The songs they sing during the course of the musical include: "Three Coins in the Fountain"; "Undecided"; "Gotta Be This or That"; "Moments to Remember"; "Crazy 'Bout Ya, Baby"; "No, Not Much"; "Sixteen Tons"; "Chain Gang"; "Perfidia"; "Cry"; "Heart and Soul"; "Lady of Spain"; "Scotland the Brave"; "Shangri-La"; "Rags to Riches"; and "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing".
Stuart Ross explained the production history of the revue, stating that it was initially produced at the West Bank Cafe in 1987. It then ran at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut and Downstairs Cabaret in Rochester, New York, where the revue was rewritten to have the members of the Plaids killed. The revue next ran at The American Stage Company at the Becton Theatre, Teaneck, New Jersey in December 1988. The revue opened in New York in November 1989 at Steve McGraw's. The revue re-opened at McGraw's in May 1990 and closed on June 12, 1994.
The original 1989 New York cast was Stan Chandler, Guy Stroman, Gabriel Barre and Jason Graae. The original 1990 New York cast included Jason Graae (Sparky); Stan Chandler (Jinx); David Engel (Smudge); and Guy Stroman (Frankie).
The play was produced as a motion picture (released on July 9, 2009) starring Chandler and Engel from the original cast, with Larry Raben and Daniel Reichard taking over for Sparky and Francis (Frankie), respectively. David Hyde Pierce guest stars as the narrator. David Snyder served as musical director and pianist. The movie was written and directed by the show's original creator, Stuart Ross, and edited by Oscar and Emmy winner Alan Helm. The performances of "The Golden Cardigan" and "Catch a Falling Star" are notably absent.
The Pasadena Playhouse and Neptune Theatre (Halifax), famous for its versions of the original, ran a sequel called Plaid Tidings, a holiday version with modified story and songs. The Pasadena engagement premiered in November 2001, and ran again in December 2002. The Los Angeles Times reviewer wrote that the musical is "enormously entertaining feel-good fare...Plaid Tidings, however, significantly expands upon the original model, its self-contained ethos of sunny homage augmented with flashes of pathos and larger point." Plaid Tidings made its New York City debut at the York Theatre Company at St. Peter's in December 2015.
It is available for licensing through Music Theatre International.
A version for high schools, The Sound of Plaid: Forever Plaid School Version, is being created by Music Theatre International.
- Klein, Alvin. "THEATER; 'Forever Plaid' Returns To Place of Its Youth" The New York Times, October 15, 2000
- Klein, Alvin. "Review. 'Forever Plaid' Revisits the 50s" The New York Times, December 25, 1988
- Holden Stephen. "Review/Cabaret; 'Forever Plaid,' a Spoof" The New York Times, November 23, 1989
- Holden, Stephen. "Reviews/Theater; A Spoof of the 1950s Moves to Off Broadway" The New York Times, May 25, 1990
- " Forever Plaid Off-Broadway" lortel.org, accessed May 22, 2016
- "James Raitt; Broadway Arranger and Stage Musical Director" Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1994
- Lieber, Ann. " Forever Plaid: The Movie theatermania.com, August 25, 2008
- "Forever Plaid" Official movie website: Cast & Crew [dead link]
- "History" mtishows.com, accessed May 23, 2016
- Nichols, David C. "'Plaid Tidings' is a holiday delight" Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2002
- Clement, Olivia. "York Theatre's 'Plaid Tidings' Opens Tonight Off-Broadway" Playbill, December 13, 2015
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