The Grand Theatre begins its 25th year with a play that pays homage to a bygone era in American music.
“Forever Plaid,” the off-Broadway musical revue written by Stuart Ross, is a tribute to 1950s harmony pop groups like the Four Aces. The play’s heroes, the Plaids, embody the clean-cut vocal group styles that were popular during the period.
“This wonderful fun revue is chock-full of classic barbershop quartet harmonies,” says the Grand’s interim director, Seth Miller. “Squabbling over the smallest intonations and executing their charmingly outlandish choreography with over-zealous precision, the Plaids are guaranteed to supply you with a night of memorable entertainment.”
The joyous quartet has their sights set on recording an album before tragedy strikes. The play begins with the Plaids returning from the beyond for one last performance of musical grandeur.
The show gives audiences a fun-filled, nostalgic night of song and dance.
“These guys make naiveté look good,” says director Jim Christian. “‘Forever Plaid’ takes us on a time travel journey back to this sweeter, simple life. These four guys are true believers in music, in dreams, and in being a Plaid.
“Their world is filled with iconic images: Perry Como, after school jobs, Ed Sullivan, Latin rhythms, high school dances, and sing-alongs. They strive to do their best because they think that’s how the rest of the word functions, too. And they also see the glass as half full… of chocolate milk.”
Mark Daniels, who plays Frankie, is a drama teacher at Weber High School. He earned the Utah High School Activities Association Theatre Educator of the Year award earlier this year. Daniels has been performing as a Plaid for over 20 years.
Nick Morris, who plays Jinx, has performed in various plays at the Grand for the last five years, including “La Cage aux Folles,” “Urinetown,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Xanadu” and “Into the Woods.”
B.J. Whimpey, who plays Smudge, is a musical theater grad from Weber State University. He has been in productions of “Sleepy Hollow,” “The Lion in Winter” and “Urinetown.”
Jonathan Baker, who plays Sparky, enters his second production of the “Forever Plaid” revue. He has sung backup vocals for other artists such as David Archuleta, Christina Sorrentino and the Osmond Family.
“Forever Plaid” will be performed at the Grand through September 19. Visit the-grand.org for a list of show times.