Live: “Forever Plaid” @ Proctors’ GE Theatre
“We’re the pure, the proud, the plaid,” proclaims Sparky, the wiseguy of the male vocal quartet, Forever Plaid. They’re also dead, but that’s not going to get in the way of the foursome performing one final concert before being recalled to the Great Beyond.
That concert is what you get when you see “Forever Plaid,” Stuart Ross’ jukebox musical that’s playing at Proctors in Schenectady through Sunday, September 12.
Director Guy Strohman manages to elicit some laughs from the slight script, but the “plot” is so thin it’s practically transparent.
Of course, “Forever Plaid” isn’t about any sort of narrative. Rather, It’s really all about the music – the rich, four-part harmonies of such guy groups as the Four Aces and the Ames Brothers. And the Plaids – Chris Crouch as Frankie; J.D. Daw as Jinx; Joseph Domencic as Smudge; Marcus Stevens as Sparky – nail those close-knit harmonies from the opening notes of their first big song, which appropriately enough is “Moments to Remember.” Pianist Graham Doig and bassist Mike Wicks leave plenty of room for those harmonies to resonate, too.
How much you enjoy the show depends in part on whether you like the white-bread, buttoned-down vocal sound. But it also depends on how old you are. Let’s face it – it’s a nostalgia show, and two of the show’s biggest bits are woven around Perry Como and “The Ed Sullivan Show” – bits that will be lost to most except baby boomers.
“Forever Plaid” is an intimate show, and the set design recreates a vintage nightclub. Fortunately, the GE Theatre boasts just the right up-closeness for it to work. Naturally, there are a few moments of audience participation, and at the performance that I watched, an unsuspecting audience member – Miss Yvonne – was plucked from her seat to play a duet with Smudge of the old warhorse “Heart & Soul.” Nice job…