Monday June 26th 2017

“Forever Plaid Tidings”

Many people remember the musical entertainment “Forever Plaid” , the story about a singing quartet who was killed in an accident while on a bust trip to see a live “Ed Sullivan Television show”, who are stuck in “purgatory” having never completed their mission to do a “really big show” themselves. In the sequel, which I find more entertaining although limited in timing of when it can be staged, “Forever Plaid Tidings”, now being revitalized at Theatre at the Center in Munster,Indiana ( just a hop skip and jump from downtown Chicago), these four men are prompted by Rosemary Clooney, they are transported back to perform a special holiday program for the world-weary mortals of Earth. Kind of silly right? But under the direction  of veteran William Pullinsi, with four dynamite performers, this production is one that will take you away from the troubles of your life. Not just for the two hours they bring you oldies but goodies and then a second act filled with Holiday merriment, but probably enough cheer to get you through the holiday season…and more!

The book written by Stuart Ross, the songs are a blast from the past with favorites such as “Sha-Boom”,”mambo Italiano”, “hey There”, “Fever” and then the full gambit of holiday songs-“let it Snow”, “Joy To The World”, “Mr.Santa”,”It’s Beginning To Look  Lot Like Christmas”, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and many many more. There is a wonderful rendition of “Carol of The Bells’ where the four powerful singers( actors as well) and an audience member play the Christmas Bells , and do so to perfection. In fact, these men sing and dance up a storm ( Scott Stratton can tap with the best of them) and as actors, they make these characters truly seem real. There is a marvelous piece where Rod Thomas begins to do  “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” and becomes very political in his feelings for how Ruolph was treated. he then ges on to talk about poor “Frosty The Snowman” and others who were not given fair treatment by their peers. It is funny, sweet and in reality a lesson for all of us.

The other two singers/performersJonathan Wagner and Frank J. Paul ( who has an amazing vocal range) are as extraordinary as Stratton and Thomas. The choreography is well done by Nicole Miller who manages to take the typical singing group, back-up singer format to a new ( and higher) level. In the second act there is a tribute story about Perry Como , the traditional TV Christmas Host and another bit that allows these men to bring us the Ed Sullivan Christmas show in 3 minutes and 11 seconds- a true comic delight. In fact, no matter what you religious beliefs, the entertainment value of this entertainment will be a marvelous experience for the entire family.

The orchestra under the direction of Bill Underwood ( who is a part of this production) is superb and the lighting (Shelly Strasser-Holland) and sound(Barry G. Funderburg) along with the costumes (Brenda Winstead) all make this show complete. Ms Winstead is also responsible for the props and there are a great number to deal with- bravo on this task. Ann N. Davis did the set design which is nothing out of the ordinary but all of the little extras that she has created are the icing on the cake in making this a total picture of what “might” be, if you believe it could be.

Again,”Forever Plaid Tidings” is designed to be a diversion from everyday stress and to put you into the Holiday Spirit- which it will do, but you can only view it during this time of year as it will only run through December 23rd with performances as follows:

Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m.,Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $38-$42 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 219-836-3255 or Tickets.com at 1-800-511-1552. They can also be purchase online at

www.TheatreAtThe Center.com

Theatre At The Center is located about 18 miles from the loop at 1040 Ridge Road in Munster ( where you can save money on gas as well) with plenty of free parking and very good sight lines from every seat. Get in the holiday mood with this fun little ditty.

To see what others say, visit theatreinchicago.com on my home page, once there, go to review round-up and click “Forever Plaid Tidings”

Happy Holidays

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