Make us your home page
Instagram

'Forever Plaid' is a fun blast to the past

The four leads of Forever Plaid, a musical comedy that opens Saturday at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, are played by, from left, Nick Rishel, Matty Colonna, Dick Baker and Brendan Cataldo. The four singers get a second chance to perform one big show.

The Light Box

The four leads of Forever Plaid, a musical comedy that opens Saturday at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, are played by, from left, Nick Rishel, Matty Colonna, Dick Baker and Brendan Cataldo. The four singers get a second chance to perform one big show.

HUDSON — In an era when staggering zombies and aspiring rock stars dominate movies and TV, the 1990 musical Forever Plaid should fit right in. After all, the four main characters have been dead for decades, killed in a car wreck on the way to their first big professional gig back in the 1950s, and they are back for a second chance to show their singing prowess.

But it's definitely not creepy, nor a copycat. Composer/lyricist/playwright Stuart Ross' four singing Plaids wear Ralph Lauren-style dinner jackets, neat 1950s haircuts and display excellent posture — not rags, rotting skin and hunch-shouldered staggers. And they sing songs with real words that the audience can understand and wouldn't offend either great-grandma or a convention of conservative ministers.

That's the joy of Forever Plaid and probably why the Show Palace Dinner Theatre is bringing it back for at least the fourth time (1999, 2001 and 2008 and perhaps one or two I've overlooked). It's a crowd pleaser, sweetly clever and entertaining from the first note to the last. Though those of us around in the 1950s and '60s will probably enjoy it most, know every word to every song — Moments to Remember, No, Not Much, Perfidia, Sixteen Tons, Heart and Soul, plus dozens more — and get every "insider" joke, kids will likely love it, too, simply because of the music and mood.

The story starts as four clean-cut fellows from the '50s suddenly, through some cosmic convergence, find themselves returned to Earth for one single night to do the show they were scheduled to do nearly a half-century earlier. Instead, they had been stopped by their fatal encounter with a bus load of Catholic girls on their way to see the Beatles make their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show (perhaps a metaphor for how the Beatles unwittingly killed close-harmony singing by guy groups like The Four Lads, The Four Aces and The Cleftones).

The guys recall how they came together, how their families supported their efforts, how they loved Perry Como and the Sullivan show, all the while getting back to speed so they can do their own show before their night is over.

Each one has something unique to contribute. Sparky (Matty Colonna, Altar Boyz at Venice Theatre Cabaret) is the group clown, injecting humor into every situation. Jinx (Nick Rishel, the policeman in the Show Palace's Hello, Dolly) is the shy one with recurrent nosebleeds. Frankie (Dick Baker, Chip in Putnam County Spelling Bee for American Stage in the Park) is the crooner who melts and breaks hearts. And Smudge (Brendan Cataldo, theaters in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida), who has a nervous stomach, worries about everything and is often earnestly confused.

The director is Steven Flaa, who has not only directed the show several times before, but has also played in it many, many times. Bill Cusick is music director and onstage pianist, joined by bassist Irv Goldberg, a familiar face not only at the Show Palace, but also at many other Florida theaters.

>>fast facts

Forever Plaid, a musical comedy, matinees and evenings Saturday through Aug. 24 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. Dinner and show $49.50; show only, $38.45; ages 12 and younger $24.95 and $19.95, all plus tax and tip.

'Forever Plaid' is a fun blast to the past 07/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 5:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After last year's drug-related deaths, Tampa's Sunset Music Festival says it's stepping up safety, security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Alex Haynes worked three jobs. He had a fiance and an infant son. He owned his own home in Melbourne. Last summer, the 22-year-old attended the Sunset Musical Festival at Raymond James Stadium.

    He left in an ambulance.

    Last year’s Sunset Music Festival was marked by dozens of medical emergencies.
  2. The last farmer of Florida's prized Zellwood corn is thinking of packing it in

    Consumer

    MOUNT DORA — Hank Scott steps out of his pickup between the long rows and snaps off an ear that grows about bellybutton-high on the forehead-high stalks.

    Hank Scott, co-owner of Long and Scott Farms, shucks an ear of corn on the farm in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The farm specializes in Scott's Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Pain does not exist in the Karate 3 soundtrack ... does it?!?

    Blogs

    Should the Karate Kid series have stopped at the original? Probably, but if we didn't have Karate Kid 3 would will still have the lost song Listen To Her Heart by the Little River Band?

  4. Bar review: The Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    I've spent many evenings in St. Pete's Jannus Live courtyard, enjoying one of the best open-air venues in the Tampa Bay area. It's where I saw my first concert in Florida: Toadies, on the Rubberneck tour sometime in the mid '90s.

    The drinks at the Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg are about as cheap as you’ll find at any other regular downtown bar, a nice surprise.
  5. Local craft beer of the week: Two Henrys Belleview-Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat

    Bars & Spirits

    Two Henrys Brewing Company is a unique entity in the Tampa Bay brewing scene, due to both its status as the only brewery in Plant City, as well as its location on a 27-acre working farm, which also includes a winery.

    Photo by Justin Grant