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‘Forever Plaid’ takes us back to boy-band era

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By Sara Miller

If you tuned in for the Super Bowl halftime show, you got an eyeful of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Chili Peppers, an iconic male quartet from the 1990s and 2000s, are famous for their frenetic on-stage persona and a funk-rock vibe. True fans of the band, however, appreciate their tight vocal harmonies.

The Chili Peppers took the Super Bowl stage with Bruno Mars. Although famous for his pop songs, Mars got his start performing in his parents’ doo-wop/Little Richard rock ‘n’ roll band in Hawaii. Combine these two elements — a male quartet with tight harmonies and a charismatic young songbird with a doo-wop vibe — and you will realize why the Evergreen Chorale’s production of “Forever Plaid” is a timeless classic.

“Forever Plaid” focuses on an up-and-coming 1950s male quartet called The Plaids. The Plaids were on their way to perform on the Ed Sullivan show when they had a fatal car crash. As the show opens, they have come back for the ultimate encore, and are given a chance to perform their show one last time for a live audience. The light-hearted show is appropriate for all ages and is a trip down Memory Lane.

“All of the music in this show was popular when I was in college. I told the cast, ‘The red Mercury convertible in which The Plaids were supposedly killed was the same car I drove in 1954 in the homecoming parade.’ So this show brings back a lot of memories for me and many others,” says Jack Schnepp, the show’s director and president of the Evergreen Elks Lodge.

“Forever Plaid”opened in 1990 and became a smash off-Broadway hit, and has since been performed for audiences around the world. A clever script and a score featuring ‘50s favorites such as “Heart and Soul,” “Three Coins in a Fountain,” “Chain Gang” and “Sixteen Tons” takes the audience back to the heyday of the close-harmonizing “boy bands” such as the Four Aces and the Ames Brothers.

The cast has a playful repartee, which may stem from the fact that many have worked together in previous Evergreen Chorale productions. Brian Sides (Smudge) portrayed Juan Peron in “Evita,” as well as many other roles in Chorale productions. Chad Hewitt (Frankie) played John Adams in last spring’s production of “1776,” opposite Robert Dickert (Jinx) as Thomas Jefferson. Bill O’Meara’s (Sparky) most recent role was as a tenor solo in the Chorale’s performance of Handel’s Messiah in December 2012. DJ Himstedt rounds out the cast as the on-stage pianist, with Jon Cullison on bass and Dean Oldencott on drums.

Musical direction is provided by the Chorale’s artistic director, Christine Gaudreau. NancyLee Manus, last seen in the fall production of “Jekyll & Hyde,” is the choreographer. Elisa Campbell is the stage and production manager, and costumes were created by Shirley Esher. The set was designed by Tammy Williams, and Erika Kae returns as lighting designer.

“Forever Plaid”celebrates the bygone days of smooth crooners and doo-wop finesse. It also pays homage to the guy groups with tight harmonies that paved the way for our musical stars of today.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.

The Evergreen Chorale presents ‘Forever Plaid’

Feb. 21 through March 9; Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive
Tickets cost $22 for adults, $18 for seniors (62-plus) and students, $15 for children, $17 for groups of 10 or more.
To order tickets, call 303-674-4002 or visit www.evergreenchorale.org