by Beki Pineda
FOREVER PLAID – Book by Stuart Ross; Music by Various Artists; Directed by Matthew D. Peters. Presented by BDT Stage (5501 Arapahoe) through July 11. Tickets available at bdtstage.com or 303-449-6000.
How old does a theatrical piece have to be before it qualifies as being a “chestnut”? I think PLAID is there. Born under the watchful eyes and dancing feet of Stuart Ross who has written a couple of other pieces, this is the one that bought his house and put his kids through college. In 1987, he started with a small musical revue that honored the close harmony sounds of the 1950’s guy groups (like the Four Freshmen). He pulled together a catalog of songs indicative of the era and then gently parodied them. Most of the music is still relevant and still very enjoyable, especially coming from the throats of these four talented singers. The one thing that maybe doesn’t hold up is the three minutes and eleven seconds parody of the Ed Sullivan show. For those of us born BEFORE the turn of this century, it makes sense. But my younger companion for the evening had to ask, “Who’s Ed Sullivan?”
But it’s all in good fun and all in good music. Most of the audience were singing along with some – if not, most – of the songs. Golden Oldies such as “Moments to Remember,” “Crazy ‘bout Ya, Baby,” “Sixteen Tons,” and audience favorite “Matilda” . . . . a little softer now. An homage to the music of Perry Como accompanies a story of how Mr. Como came into the garage where one of the boys worked. The group also illustrates their potential for “gigs” by demonstrating how they would adapt their music to various “private functions.” Including the worst version of a Beatles song I’ve ever heard. I especially enjoyed the harmonies of the ballad “Scotland the Brave” and Brian Cronan’s big finale to “Cry.”
Local favorites Scott Severtson, Alejandro Roldan, Leo Batlle, and Brian Cronan made up the quartet the night I attended. But on any other night you might be entertained by a combination that could include Jacob Villareal and/or Matt LaFontaine as part of the group. These gentlemen are extraordinary singers and develop the close relationship of these long time friends naturally. They explore their back story, share parts of their history and family life, divulge their dreams and fears, and put Nostalgia (with a capital N) in the middle of your heart. If you didn’t live through the 50’s, they will make you wish you had with all its innocence and hope.
Most everything else is the same at BDT; the wait staff is still as efficient and friendly as always. Some tables are roped off for social distancing. The only major change seems to be that you have to pre-order your meals now (presumably to cut down on the handling of the food) when you order your tickets. But it’s the same excellent meal we have come to expect.
Intermission is over. It’s time to get back to theatre.
A WOW factor of 8.5!!