Forever Plaid Review - Doo-Wop is Back!

Playwright Stuart Ross aced it with FOREVER PLAID, which premiered in 1989 and has had a healthy life since then. It was even made into a movie in 2009. Almost 30 years have passed since its stage debut, and FOREVER PLAID still lives on! Pretty soon, the magic 50-year mark will be reached for the show. Those are the 50 years between the tragic accident which befell Forever Plaid, a guy group rushing to their very first show, and their chance to finally strut their stuff in front of a live audience 50 years later.

Robert Petrarca, Travis Leland, Jackson Hinden, and Nick Tubbs - Photo by Tracey Roman

After their cherry red convertible is broadsided by a school bus full of Catholic school girls on their way to see the Beatles, the four are forever out of show business. Thank goodness for that hole in the ozone layer 50 years later which lets them return from the afterlife to recreate a moment in time with talent and rollicking good humor. Their dreams will soon come true as they entertain with the songs that gave life to the 50’s. Those same songs which will surely tweak nostalgia and fond memories in the audience.

Travis Leland, Nick Tubbs, Robert Petrarca, and Jackson Hinden - Photo by Tracey Roman

The Long Beach International City Theatre revival is fortunate to have two former “Plaids,” Scott Dreier and Kurtie Simmons, expertly directing the current production. These are men who know that FOREVER PLAID never gets old. Musical director Bill Wolfe and musical arranger James Raitt add their special genius in resurrecting songs that marked an era. And let’s not forget the very talented foursome who comprise the Plaids, Jackson Hinden (Sparky), Travis Leland (Frankie), Robert Petrarca (Smudge), and Nick Tubbs (Jinx).

Robert Petrarca, Travis Leland, Nick Tubbs, and Jackson Hinden - Photo by Tracey Roman

FOREVER PLAID sparkles with oldies but goodies like “Heart and Soul,” “Lady of Spain,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.” Woven among the 29 “Magic Moments” are the very funny antics of the quartet as they strive to present the best show ever. Classic doo-wop is back with passion and vitality. By the way, Nick Tubbs (Jinx) and Travis Leland (Frankie) are also members of a real life doo-wop group call the Flashbacks.  Recently, Tubbs remarked that “This has always been my favorite kind of music…I just love the melodies and the lyrics behind a lot of the songs.”

Nick Tubbs, Travis Leland, Robert Petrarca, and Jackson Hinden - Photo by Tracey Roman

And through all this, Bill Wolfe skillfully plays the piano accompanied by Jonathan Alvarez on bass. Christopher Scott Murillo’s set is simple but effective, highlighted by Stacy McKenney’s lighting and Dave Mickey’s sound. This is a show that’s side-splittingly funny while still being nostalgic and full of gentle humor and tug-at-your-heartstring moments. After all, how could it be otherwise with such cute and cuddly guys singing their hearts out just for you? FOREVER PLAID is great family fare – but also will prove evocative of memories for those of us who recall those melodies as if it were yesterday.

Nick Tubbs, Travis Leland, Robert Petrarca, and Jackson Hinden - Photo by Tracey Roman

FOREVER PLAID runs through March 5, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 330 East Seaside Way, Long Beach, CA 90802. Tickets are $47 to $49. For information and reservations, call 562-436-4610 or go online.  

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