Archikulture Digest

Forever Plaid

Forever Plaid

By Stuart Ross

Directed and Choreographed by Scott Cook

Musical Direction by David Foust

Theatreworks at the Garden Theatre

Winter Garden, FL</strong>

Buddy Holly got a plane crash, Elvis popped only the best pills, and Mama Cass stepped out for a snack, but The Plaids went to the great Variety Show in the sky courtesy of a mishandled school bus. That was back around ‘64, but tonight they get once last chance, reincarnated a generation and a half after doo-wop boy bands had their first heyday. For a quartet mangled at the crossroads, they look pretty good in white diner jackets, plaid cummerbunds, and those tux pants with the shiny strip up the leg. What IS the deal with that stripe, anyway?

The Plaids rely on personality as much as vocal fireworks and soaring harmony, so each of the boys has a deep inner personal flaw. Jinx (Rob Ross) tends to nose bleeds, Smudge (Charlie Stevens) has a Milk of Magnesia problem, Sparky (Timothy Pappas) escaped from speech therapy, and asthmatic Frankie (Kevin Kelly, with hair) holds these boys together emotionally, and it’s a worthy job. The Plaids master classical harmony from the pre-show “Testing Testing 1-2-3-4” to boffo closer “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.” Everyone gets a standout solo but no one stands up their band mates. Not all the songs were off the Dick Clark Hot Hundred list, we heard some pleasant rarities like “Perfidia”, “Undecided”, and “Gotta Be This Or That” along with old favorites like “Sixteen Tons,” “Catch a Falling Star” and “Three Coins In a Fountain.” The first act sticks to songs and band chit-chat, while the second act opens up to broader comedy, peaking with a 3 minute parody of the Ed Sullivan show set to “Lady of Spain.” Jugglers, trained seals, fire eaters, José Jimenez and Topo Gigio all made an appearance, and when it’s all over, they boys weep a tear and fly off for a two show-a-night gig in the Restaurant At The End of the Universe.

The show maintains a studied innocence, sticking strictly to a canon of songs packed with innuendo but cleared for airplay by postwar blue stockings. The 1960s sexual revolution looms on the horizon, but that’s a revue for another evening. Tonight drips with our parent’s nostalgia, just like the recently restored Garden Theater. It also compliments downtown Winter Garden, a sort of open air museum to the joy of the small town America where the Plaids grew up. Go for the music, go for the comedy, go for the fading memory of Eisenhower prosperity and the glowing promise of suburbia, but go. These guys will only be doing their last show for three weekends, and then we’ll all fade away to second banana heaven.

For more information on The Garden Theatre, please visit or</a>

For other Theatreworks projects, visit</em>

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