The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 29, 2004

Features

Theater Review:
Forever Plaid
Fifth grader Ali Forelli (center) is on stage with the Plaids after volunteering to play "Heart and Soul" on the piano during the Friday night performance of Forever Plaid. The Plaids (left to right) Jinx (Alex Brewer), Frankie (Dylan Levers), Smudge (Michael Johnson) and Sparky (Travis Minor) sang to her and gave her a gift of plaid dental floss as well as a certificate.

The CCHS four-man show Forever Plaid opened in Carlisle's Corey Auditorium last weekend with shows both Friday and Saturday evening (the first time a CCHS show has been performed in Carlisle). Forever Plaid was a 1990s off-Broadway smash hit, based on a story written by Stuart Moss. With the Red Sox scheduled to play the first game of the World Series on Saturday night, Friday night was obviously the right night for my husband and me to catch the show.
The story of Forever Plaid is about four guys who met in high school in the fifties, loved to sing in harmony, sang together for family gatherings, fund raisers, and at supermarkets and proms. En route to pick up their plaid tuxedos for their first "big gig," they were hit and killed instantly by a school bus. Some time later they are allowed to come back from the dead to perform the show they never got to do. And we in the audience on Friday and Saturday night were there to hear them sing some of those wonderful golden oldies that were performed back in the days of The Four Aces, The Four Freshman and the Hi-Los.
The "four guys" of the Forever Plaid cast are two from Carlisle: Michael Johnson and Alex Brewer, both seniors, and two from Concord: Dylan Levers, a junior and Travis Minor, a senior. All have performed before in musical productions under the direction of Chuck Brown, music and drama teacher at CCHS. Michael Johnson was also the stage manager for Fiddler on the Roof last year.
The harmonies of the group were strong and well blended as they sang familiar tunes like "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Gotta Be This or That," "No Not Much," and "Heart and Soul," to mention just a few. The energy and the enthusiasm of the group were evident from the minute they stepped on stage.
Tenor Alex Brewer as Jinx, who is the shy member of the group, sang his high notes, counter-tenor in some spots, with clarity and a sweetness of tone. His final verses in the solo of "Cry" brought a round of applause from the audience.
Tenor Dylan Levers as Frankie, the leader of the Plaids, had an animated presence and a special vitality that kept the show moving forward. One could not help observing his lively facial expressions throughout the evening. He was hilarious in the Mexican number, "Matilda," when the Plaids danced up and down the auditorium aisles.
Baritone Travis Minor, as Sparky, was the goofy Plaid. He sang with a clear and confident voice.
Bass Michael Johnson as Smudge, the nerd, was reserved and practical. His character was at first hesitant about performing. Finally, when Smudge broke out of his shell to sing "Rags to Riches" and earlier the dynamic "Sixteen Tons," Johnson displayed a voice of wonderful low notes, which added mightily to the group harmony.
This outstanding performance with great singing and lots of laughs is a one and one-quarter-hour show. It is played against a simple and effective set, using just the right costumes and props. Fine musical accompaniment was provided by Sue Minor on the piano and Liz Orr on the string bass. What a perfect way to spend a cool crisp fall evening, especially for those us who can still hum those marvelous fifties tunes.
If you were unable to catch the opening of Forever Plaid in Carlisle last weekend, you may see a performance in Concord at the CCHS Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights, October 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at the door or at www.ccpops.org.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito