Jewel Box Theatre Brings Glad Tidings and Cheer with “Plaid Tidings”
We’ve always loved our crooners, from barbershop quartets to the boy vocalists popular in the 1960’s such as The Four Tops, The Four Freshman and The Four Tops. “Plaid Tidings” is the sequel to “Forever Plaid” in which Stuart Ross tells the story of four young men wishing to emulate the popular Fours of the 50’s. They are called “The Plaids” and they are on their way to their first major ‘gig’ when they collide with a bus filled with Catholic school girls on their way to watch the Ed Sullivan show introducing The Beatles to America. No one in the bus is injured, but the four young men lose their lives. In Ross’s story they return to earth for one night to fulfill their destiny and perform the show they hoped would make them stars.
In the sequel, “Plaid Tidings” once again these four vocalists return to earth to realize the second part of their dream. A Christmas Special much like those television specials showcasing the talents of their idol, Perry Como. Initially, they are not sure why they have returned again but they ultimately realize they are here to bring more harmony into the world during this Christmas season.
“Plaid Tidings” is a very lighthearted show, full of favorite Christmas Carols sung in the 50’s style of the Plaids and reminding us of warm crackling fires, the wafting scent of pine from brightly decorated Christmas Trees and the love emanating from all who rejoice in the spirit of Christmas. Scott Hynes is a director who undertakes this show with a clear appreciation of the mood Ross intends with the holiday edition of “Forever Plaid” titled “Plaid Tidings”.
Hynes expertise is accompanied by Musical Director Tim Goff, also on keyboards and Chris Black, on bass as well as talented choreographer Jennifer Conaughty. The four crooners in the cast are Jeremy Small as Jinx, Owen Whitman as Frankie (Francis) Mitchell Hammond as Sparky and Gareth Forsberg as Smudge. Jinx is handsome, debonair and Small plays him large with excellent vocal range. Frankie is a born leader keeping the others focused and Whitman plays him well, sensitively exposing his doubts. Mitchell Hammond is Sparky, always looking for an angle, Sparky also has a sense of humor and Hammond conveys that with subtle clarity. Gareth Forsberg is Smudge, tall, dark and handsome yet still gangly, awkward and sweet and Forsberg skillfully presents this long drink of water with super vocals.
Christmas is a celebration and it should be warm, cozy, comfortable and endearing. “Plaid Tidings” makes it so thanks to the very good instincts of director Hynes and musical director Goff-the piano man- as well Chris Black and his stand-up performance on acoustic stand-up bass. Conaughty’s choreography brings a bit of Gene Kelly into the mix, smooth, and very realistic. The set is simple yet divine and sound and lights enhance the mood delightfully. “Plaid Tidings” is appropriate for general audiences, and very enjoyable for family, friends and more.
“Plaid Tidings” is presented by the Jewel Box Theatre and shows through December 3, 2017. Curtain is 8:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with a 2:30 matinee on Sundays. The Jewel Box Theatre is located at 3700 N. Walker Avenue in Oklahoma City just north of the First Christian Church sanctuary. For further information and tickets visit www.jewelboxtheatre.org or call the box office number at 405-521-1786. The box office is open Tuesday through Friday in the afternoon and prior to performances. Theatre folk work late and deservedly sleep late as well!
By Elizabeth Hurd, OPUBOC/okartsceneandhurd