Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Stage

The ever-popular 'Forever Plaid' comes to Stage West

RECOMMENDED READING


Pick a day — any day; pick a time — well, almost any time. And you can bet that on that day and at that time, the little musical Forever Plaid will be playing somewhere in the world. That's how popular the show is with both professional and community theaters, to say nothing of audiences.

Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill opens its version of the show Thursday and continues for two subsequent weekends.

"This promises to be a fun show filled with oldie-but-goodie music," said Leanne Germann, director of the four-member cast.

When it made its off-Broadway debut in 1990, the 90-minute show was a forerunner of today's "jukebox" musicals. The plot is slight, but the music is plentiful. It's about four young men in the early 1960s who longed to become a close-harmony quartet in the style of the Four Aces and the Four Freshmen. Calling themselves the Plaids, they prided themselves on following a strict code of behavior and relentlessly practiced in a basement. After months of work, they finally got their big break — a gig at a local lounge.

Unfortunately, on the way to their show, they were all killed in a smashup with a bus full of young nuns who were, ironically, on their way to see the Beatles make their U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show and usher in the era of rock 'n' roll, even as the Plaids' beloved four-part close harmony was fading into the sunset.

Skip to today, and through some harmonic convergence in the universe, the Plaids are being allowed to come back to Earth and do the show they were scheduled to do that fateful day back in 1962.

In between glimpses into their lives, they do 1950s and '60s classics like Sixteen Tons, Moments to Remember, Perfidia, Heart and Soul, Shangri-La and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.

There are also homages to the Sullivan Show and its favorites — the plate-spinning guy; Topo Gigio, the little Italian mouse that became a superstar, thanks to repeated appearances on that show; as well as Perry Como (The Golden Cardigan); and 1950s manners and morals.

Playing the four singers are Ryan Bintz (HAMI as Billy Flynn in Chicago) as Francis — also known as Frankie — the group's leader, who suffers from asthma; Jamie Smeriglio (HAMI as Barfee in Putnam/Spelling Bee), as the shy high tenor Jinx, who gets a nose bleed every time he goes above a certain note; Jeff Germann (HAMI as Carmen Ghia in The Producers) as the cut-up Sparky; and Jason Yungmann (HAMI, Joseph in Joseph/Dreamcoat), as Smudge, the worrier with a chronic nervous stomach.

Forever Plaid was filmed onstage for a 2008 movie (mostly played on PBS). A sequel with a holiday theme, Plaid Tidings, came out in 2013.

Comments
It’s a Doo Wop holiday at the Show Palace

It’s a Doo Wop holiday at the Show Palace

HUDSON — Music brings the Rudolph family together in A Doo Wop Christmas, which opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 25 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.This new production, directed by Peter Clapsis (The Great American Trailer Park Musical) with m...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/18/17
What’s on stage this week: Benji Brown, ‘No Man’s Land’ on screen, Florida Orchestra does Bruch

What’s on stage this week: Benji Brown, ‘No Man’s Land’ on screen, Florida Orchestra does Bruch

KIKI OR BUST: BENJI BROWNWherever Benji Brown goes, Kiki follows. The comic, known for his work on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, created the fast-talking female character on the fly when he called a girl’s house in high school and her boyfriend pic...
Published: 11/15/17
American Stage’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is just what the love doctor ordered

American Stage’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is just what the love doctor ordered

ST. PETERSBURG — A centuries-old template for the rom-com as we know it and one of Shakespeare’s most produced comedies, Much Ado About Nothing comes to us at a time when we can really use some love conquering all. Just what the love doctor ordered, ...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/15/17
Review: With a fine script, Stage West cast puts on a great show in ‘Baggage’

Review: With a fine script, Stage West cast puts on a great show in ‘Baggage’

Okay, I’ll admit I went into the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill on opening night of the comedy Baggage expecting another June/moon/spoon romance-comedy. And sure enough, that’s just the way it started.A man and a woman grab ea...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/16/17
From stickup to stand-up, bank robber's second act is comedy

From stickup to stand-up, bank robber's second act is comedy

TAMPA — He had dreamed about returning to comedy in odd moments, between meetings with the lawyer, the lonely trip to the correctional institute, picking up trash on state roads while a guard stood by with a rifle. This nightmare would make him...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/12/17
Sammy Hagar talks Clearwater concert, tequila and Van Halen drama

Sammy Hagar talks Clearwater concert, tequila and Van Halen drama

The Red Rocker calls on time, and he is all kinds of fired up."Hey, Jay, Sammy Hagar here. Are you ready for me?"Is anyone ever truly ready for a phone call from Hagar, the flame-haired, motor-mouthed ex-Van Halen singer who once dubbed himself the C...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/12/17
What’s on stage this week: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ in Key West, Travis Wall Shaping Sound

What’s on stage this week: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ in Key West, Travis Wall Shaping Sound

AMERICAN STAGE: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHINGTwo couples nearly come apart at the seams for different reasons, the premise for Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, opening at American Stage. This version is set in Key West in the 1940s, the end of World Wa...
Published: 11/08/17
Updated: 11/15/17
Review: ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ at Stageworks

Review: ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ at Stageworks

At the beginning of The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion acknowledges that the audience might not want to hear her story because we don’t think it could happen to us."It will happen to you," Didion says with a rueful smile, and of course she’s r...
Published: 11/06/17
Updated: 11/07/17
What's on stage this week: 'The Year of Magical Thinking,' Florida Orchestra milestone concert, John Cleese

What's on stage this week: 'The Year of Magical Thinking,' Florida Orchestra milestone concert, John Cleese

STAGEWORKS: MINING GRIEF FOR HEALING The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s no-frills memoir of loss and recovery, opens at Stageworks Theatre this weekend. The essayist and screenwriter adapted the one-woman stage play herself. Didion w...
Published: 11/01/17
Updated: 11/08/17
Romantic comedy ‘Baggage’ opens Nov. 9 at Stage West

Romantic comedy ‘Baggage’ opens Nov. 9 at Stage West

The romantic comedy Baggage opens at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill. Shows will continue at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 19. Phyllis Novack and Bradley Naught...
Updated one month ago