Even if you’ve already experienced “Forever Plaid,” you must not miss the production being presented at Proctors. It is stylish, immensely entertaining and an audience pleaser — as evidenced by the standing “O” it received on the day I attended. I can imagine this production receiving many standing ovations. It’s that good!
For Gazette theater writer Bill Buell's preview of this show, click here.
WHERE: GE Theatre at Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: Previews Friday and Saturday; show opens Tuesday night at 7:30 and runs through Sept. 12. Check for performance dates and times
HOW MUCH: $35-$20
MORE INFO: 346-6204 or www.proctors.org
First there are the classic songs of the ’50s: “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Sh-Boom” and “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing,” among so many others. Then there are the harmonies that made those songs iconic.
At Proctors, there are also excellent production values, witty direction and choreography (Guy Stroman), and a high-powered cast of four actor/singers who generate megatons of energy.
The story goes that the harmony group “Forever Plaid” was on route to its first big gig when a bus filled with Catholic high school — on their way to see the Beatles’ U.S. television debut on the “Ed Sullivan Show” — slammed into them. The girls survived but “The Plaids” were killed instantly.
Then “through the power of harmony and the expanding holes in the ozone layer . . . and (other) astro-technical stuff,” the boys were allowed to return to Earth to perform the concert they were supposed to give all those years ago.
It’s not much of a story, and it doesn’t have to be. That’s not the point. What is important is the music and the performances. And the performances are sublime.
I am mentioning the guys in alphabetical order, because there is not a “star” among them, just a perfect blending of talent. Chris Crouch plays “Frankie;” J.D. Daw is “Jinx;” Joseph Domencic is “Smudge;” and Marcus Stevens plays “Sparky.”
The names may be familiar, but in this production, the personalities become distinct. Crouch goes down on one knee before a female audience member — who seemed thrilled by the gesture — for a romantic, leading man type version of a love song. Daw has nosebleeds and plays “Lady of Spain” on the accordion during the hilarious three-minute, 11 second version of “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Domencic, as Smudge, keeps messing up the choreography, and Stevens’ Sparky takes lots of Tums and writes his song lyrics on the palm of his hand as he prepares to sing “Perfidia.”
Even the band gets in on the act. When musical director and pianist Graham Doig accompanies the group in a Latin number, he dons a Carmen Miranda hat then falls over because of its weight. In a very funny moment, he takes a union break for a cigarette and Domencic takes over the piano for a “Heart and Soul” segment that brought an adorable lady up on stage and into immediate stardom. The lady volunteered to play the top part of the perennial piano favorite and she was made “an honorary Plaid.” She loved every minute of it and so did I.