Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Rossmoor, Long Beach, Cypress ... EVENTS
“Plaid Tidings “ … It Has Us Dreaming of a "Plaid" Christmas
By Joseph Sirota
Tis the season for "giving" and "sharing". So here's A Top-Notch "LIVE" Holiday Entertainment Charmer, a worthy gift to your special honey, family or friends (that also treats yourself to a shared, glowingly delightful live show). The fine Laguna Playhouse's live musical comedy PLAID TIDINGS serves up terrific singing, clever, well-choreographed dance numbers, as many smiles and laughs as can fit into 2-hours; And, fittingly to the season, are the many warm, touching moments of Holiday Spirit, and Memories of past Holiday Highlights virtually all of us have felt. More than a Funny Musical Show, It's downright healing, too!
Author/Director/Choreographer, Stuart Ross explains that Plaid Tidings is a holiday special offshoot evolving from his sturdy musical-comedy dedication to the "Good-Guys" in the world, the 1989 off-Broadway forerunner, beloved hit musical Forever Plaid, (which I, and many others consider an Americana classic). The Plaids are for (4) very talented, hard-working singer/ dancer performers who dreamed with all their hearts to be successful 1950s/1960's music entertainers -- not necessarily for millionaire status, but for reaching their audiences to enjoy their music and to bring them genuinely "good-times". Alas, they were killed in an auto accident on the way to their first big breakthrough performance, and awoke(dead) in heaven, having never achieved their dream to make the world happier by entertaining them. Sadness is broken by the clean/good-natured/talent of these kind Plaids, when they're given a "temporary" pass to return to earth and strut their music and make folks happy. They wowed earthfolk & returned to heaven more peacefully. Clearly, creator Ross, also leans toward talent & kindness vs. ego, as he explains he only wrote the follow-up, holiday version Plaid Tidings about 12 years later, after the 911 Twin Towers Attack made America deeply in need of a dose of uplifted spirits. Hence, he wrote/launched the 2nd rejuvenating Plaid Tidings-2001as a Holiday musical-fable to share good-feelings musically (like his created internal heroes, The Plaids would do). We welcome their Holiday music gifts.
The Laguna Playhouse cast of 4 Plaids unquestionably brims over with the needed broad-spectrum of vocal, dance, comedic & warmth of ability plus true sparkling presence individually, and as an extraordinary well-meshed team... Sparky(David Brannen), Smudge(Scott Drier), Jinx(Ciaran McCarthy), and Frankie(William Martinez ). So wide-ranging and overlapping is the fine talent of each of these four cast members, it's almost impossible to differentiate, in words, their separate abilities. Each has standout individual moments and showstoppers, yet each could amazingly swap roles and sing, dance, handle comedy & twang our heartstrings with remarkable success. The 2012 Plaid Tidings team truly earns their Holiday Trip to Earth. With consummate skill, they combine innocent purity and nervous anticipation with enough “explosive power" and talent to power any Broadway smash musical. This savory mixture yields a supercharged, yet gentle treat that charms audiences daily. As they complete their Plaids'-Dream of bringing mankind the perfect Holiday Show like those they treasured in their youth, we get the joyful spirit and shared satisfaction they pour out from opening notes to final notes(all of which were perfect in timing & pitch) -- and they are appropriately met by a long, loud, loving standing ovation. Bravo !! -- Well-Earned, to be sure !!
Here's just a sample of the 35 sizzling show-stopping musical numbers and medlies that light up the show without a letdown. These great genre-spanning renditions include Kiss of Fire, Mambo Italiano, Matilda, Sha-Boom, Stranger in Paradise, Let It Snow, Moments to Remember, Most Wonderful Time of the Year, ... and Rudolf, Night Before Christmas, The Dreidel Song ... and I'll Be Home For Christmas (... & more). The second act also makes the very most of unique creative mini-extravaganzas of memories of our youthful Holiday TV specials .. in the form of a compressed version of a complete Ed Sullivan Holiday Show(whew...a whirlwind comedic classic) and a both touching and truly clever synchronized recreation of today's live Plaids singing close backup for a projected Perry Como B&W kinescope of his beloved traditional Christmas TV Special. They even do some Olde-Time Christmas Bell Ringing with styles, smiles & a drafted ringer from the audience. Nary a let-down in 2 hours!
The handsome/intimate Laguna Playhouse staging is well known. Its creators and backstage gurus merit kudos as well. Gerald Sternbach is a winning musical director & fine onstage piano accompanist, along with Ernie Nunez. able accompanying Bassist. The backstage team of D.Martyn Bookwalter, Corinne Carrillo, Deb Stein, Jenny Jacobs again came through with creative/effective sets, lighting and stage management. The result was a handsome, intimate trip to the heavens & stage & back.
… Plaid Tidings sparkles at The Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA. Sched: Tues thru Sat @ 8:PM, plus 2:00PM Matinees on Sat & Sun. Closes: Dec 23. Price $40-$70(Senior, Student, group discounts). Call (949) 497-2787, or (949) 497-ARTS Online: lagunaplayhouse.com