Posted: Wednesday Oct 31, 2012
Oct. 31, 2012
Saint Vincent Summer Theatre will present the Christmas musical, Plaid Tidings by Stuart Ross, a holiday edition of Forever Plaid, one of the biggest hits in the theatre’s history, at 8:10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6 and 7, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 to 15, and at 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sundays, Dec. 9 and 16 in the Performing Arts Center of the Robert S. Carey Student Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College.
The show will be directed by Colleen Reilly who says she picked it because of the success she has had with Forever Plaid. “Thousands of our patrons have enjoyed it,” she commented.
“One of the things you are looking for as an artistic director is shows that are ‘the same but different’,” she continued. “You want to give your audience shows like the shows that they love but you can’t produce the same things over and over. So when you find something that is so very similar to a beloved show, you get excited. I have known about this show but it never seemed like a good summer choice because it has a holiday theme. Christmas ideas and traditions only feel right in December so we came up with the idea of doing it before Christmas when we normally wouldn’t be open. We announced it last summer and our patrons loved the idea. We have already sold a lot of tickets and there seems to be excitement and anticipation about the production. I think our audiences will enjoy it.”
Ms. Reilly noted that Plaid Tidings has the same four characters as Forever Plaid as well as the same style of music with the same type of warmth and humor. “For those unfamiliar with Forever Plaid, it tells the story of a four-part amateur men’s harmony group that lived in eastern Pennsylvania in the 1950s and 60s and who were never as famous as they could have been,” she explained. “They never had the breaks they should have. They played a lot of local events such as bowling alley openings, Knights of Columbus dinners, etc. and they never had the chance to be stars. Then they were killed in a car accident in 1964. Forever Plaid is the story of that group coming back to earth to do the big show they never got a chance to do in life. Plaid Tidings is a story about the same group. I would call it a sequel but you don’t have to have seen Forever Plaid to understand Plaid Tidings. In this show, the Four Plaids, the harmony group, come back to earth and get the chance to perform the ‘Christmas special’ they always dreamed of doing. These guys were enthralled with the Christmas specials that were so popular in the golden age of television. Perry Como, for example, always did a special with holiday music. The Plaids talk about how much the specials meant to them and they talk about how they wanted to do one of their own. They wanted to share that same warmth and joy with contemporary audiences.”
The actors in Plaid Tidings will be very familiar to the audiences who have come to see Forever Plaid. “Three of the four who played last summer will be returning for this show,” Ms. Reilly noted. “Greggory Brandt will play Smudge, David Scott Purdy will play Jinx and Kevin Daniel O’Leary will play Sparky. Tony Marino will not be back as Frankie because he is directing his own show at Stage Right. We are still auditioning actors for his role.”
Renata Marino will be the choreographer. “She has done all four productions here and she understands the Plaid style and the traditions of the show,” Ms. Reilly advised. “I’m excited to have the three cast members who are returning. They have won the hearts of our audience.”
Penny Lin Lambright will serve as stage manager and costume designer, and David Kindl will be the technical director.
Ms. Reilly advised interested patrons to make reservations as soon as possible. “None of the shows are sold out but the matinees are nearly full. A number of people have called and said they were coming here as part of their organization’s holiday celebration. Several companies are bringing their employees in conjunction with their annual Christmas parties. It is suitable for all ages and parents and children can enjoy it together. It’s a great way to take a break from shopping and decorating and be entertained amid the joy of the season.”
Tickets are $19 on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, $22 on Friday and Saturday evenings, and $16 for afternoon matinees. Theatre party group rates, senior citizen discounts and student discounts are also available. For reservations, contact 724-537-8900 or www.svst.org.
Photo 1: David Scott Purdy will play Jinx
Photo 2: Greggory Brandt will play Smudge
Photo 3: Kevin Daniel O’Leary will play Sparky
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