CENTERVILLE — On a stormy night in 1964, four doo-wop singers known as the Plaids — Sparky, Jinx, Frankie and Smudge — are on the way to their first big gig when they are sidetracked.
They are killed in a car crash.
Yet the Plaids are miraculously revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams. Bop-shoo-bopping their way through such jukebox fare as “Three Coins in a Fountain,” “Heart and Soul” and “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” in their trademark velvety, four-part harmony, the bandmates perform the show that never was.
“We are taking an approach to the show that will reward an audience not only with comedy and music but also a story about four guys that is interesting to watch,” said Anthony Buck, who is directing “Forever Plaid” at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre.
“The story of the show is their realization that dreams often come true — but dreams may come true in ways we didn’t expect or realize. There are a lot of people, especially in this area within our culture, who do find their dreams that way: They want to live out a kind of life but then life has other plans for them, and they learn to embrace what they are given and realize that was their dream; they just didn’t know it.”
Buck explains that previous productions of “Forever Plaid” have made the characters “campy and goofy, but that’s a major misinterpretation of the script. The author is very specific that the audience should find it funny, but the more seriously the actors believe in what they are doing, the funnier the show will be — but also the more the audience will accept their stories and believe in them.”
Playwright Stuart Ross said the band members are “so square, they’re hip.”
“I don’t think of this show as a spoof or parody,” Ross told a Los Angeles Times interviewer. “We take it sincerely, earnestly, but with a sense of humor.
“What would happen if four guys, who were misfits in society, were left alone in their basements to do their own choreography and their own arrangements?” he asked. "There’s an innocence to that. It’s pretty funny, but it pokes fun at how naive we all were (at the time) — in, I hope, a loving way.”
Buck said he believes audiences will find “Forever Plaid” particularly appealing because it is the first production for which the theater company has been able to use a live band to accompany a musical.
“Having a live band gives us much more flexibility,” Buck said. “With a minus track, the music director ends up being a technician musically, but with a band, we’re able to work together to make music. That’s a great feeling. It also gives the cast a sense of flying without a net, and that’s a great feeling for a performer. Nothing is dictated; the singer-actors get to make the decisions of what to do and how to perform the music.”
If you go ...
What: CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s “Forever Plaid”
Where: Davis Center for the Performing Arts
When: Jan. 13-Feb. 8
How much: $17-$21
Tickets: 801-298-1302 or centerpointtheatre.org
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