by DICK KEREKES
The month of August will be alive with the sound of music from the l950s, as the Alhambra Dinner Theatre presents a revival of the Off-Broadway hit, Forever Plaid.
What would you do if you could go back, if you had another chance to live your life over?” Well that is essentially the plot of this delightful and endearing musical.
The four members of a male harmony singing group are on the way to a gig in l964 when they are involved in an auto accident that takes their lives. Now 45 years later, by some kind of divine intervention, the “Plaids” are permitted to come back and to do the one big show they never got to do in life and Forever Plaid is that show.
The show opens and closes with an Oscar Winning songs, “Three Coins in the Fountain” and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”. In between the two favorites, you are treated to over a dozen or so songs that just aren’t heard much anymore unless you have purchased “oldie” albums. Even radio stations that used to play the golden oldies have gone away. I have to admit I knew all the songs and I especially enjoyed ‘Sixteen Tons/Chain Gang”, “Perfidia” and “Heart and Soul”.
The four talented actors/singers do a three minute 11 second version of the old Ed Sullivan show, which I have seen dozen times but it always hilarious and is the funniest bit in this show as well.
The entire musical runs about 90 minutes and in that time there are several quick costume changes that go with the ambiance of the song (IE-straw hats for the Caribbean segment). The “Plaids” finish up the last half in snazzy plaid jackets, replacing their white dinner coats.
Three of the four actors are new to the Alhambra. Nick Cearley (Sparky), Javier Ignacio (Frankie), and Justin Sergeant (Jinx), are young but already have impressive resumes with extensive backgrounds in musicals all over the East Coast and nationally. Steven Flaa who plays Smudge is also the Director of this production. He is no stranger to the Alhambra stage, and has appeared in twelve shows here over the years. He was last here in 2000 when he directed and performed in this same show.
If you can play the piano, even a little, there is a chance you might be chosen for a bit of audience participation. A young lady came up last weekend and “helped” them play “Heart and Soul”.
If you enjoy outstanding voices and listening to four part harmony then you are going to love this show. It is family friendly, so take the kids and the grandparents as well.
The music of this era, the l950s is rather unique. It was a time when children and their parents listened to the SAME music and the SAME songs, which is certainly not the case today. Forever Plaid is a trip back to the carefree days of the l950s when things were much simpler. It has wonderful songs, some often silly humor and lots of contagious optimism. It is fun, fun, fun.
Yes, the month of August is the run of the show with final performance on Sunday August 30th. Call 641-1212 for information and reservations 24 hours a day. Visit their website at www.Alhambra Dinnertheatre.com to view a seating chart to select a seat for your visit. A reminder, you can go to the Alhambra FREE on your birthday, call for details. The Alhambra is located at l2000 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Florida 32246.