Review: FOREVER PLAID at Castle Craig Players

Runs through March 17, 2024.

By: Mar. 03, 2024
Review: FOREVER PLAID at Castle Craig Players
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On Saturday, March 2nd, I had the pleasure of seeing another phenomenal performance put on by the Castle Craig Players at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT, FOREVER PLAID, a comedic jukebox musical written by Stuart Ross.  Director Melanie Del Sole, with help from musical director Nick Ciasullo and choreographer Stephen Koehler bring out the best in this amazing cast featuring Henry Tobelman, Stephen Koehler, Jeffrey Rizzo and Brandon Gregoire, accompanied by David Marottolo on piano.  The show reflects the music of the male 1950s harmony groups, placing it into a highly entertaining storyline!  The actors have incredible stage chemistry with each other, and amazing vocal harmony.  Their dance maneuvers are performed with sharp synchronicity.  Most importantly, it is clear that they are having an excellent time performing their roles, radiating positive energy throughout the audience.

The exposition of the story is that an up and coming male vocal quartet, called the Plaids, who had not yet quite made it to the big time instantly had their career and chance for stardom cut short on a February night when they were in a car on a way to a gig, and got crashed into by a bus, a crash that was fatal for all four members of the quartet.

Suddenly, years later, all four members of the quartet find their souls reunited with their bodies, and in a location to play the gig they never had gotten to play.  A pianist to accompany them is on stage.  Their audience is there, with the fourth wall broken, as the audience for the show is their audience.

They perform songs from the 1950s and early 1960s including Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang,” in a medley with Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons.”  An interesting vocal and lyrical adaptation of the Beatles “She Loves You,” is performed.  Perry Como’s “Catch A Falling Star,” is another highlight, as well as Harry Belafonte’s “Jamaica Farewell.”  There is an audience sing-along number.  At one point, an audience member gets called up on stage to play a duet of “Heart and Soul,” on piano.  So, if you want to be that audience member, learn that song on piano.  Henry Tobelman plays an accordion at one point, the piano at another point, and a rather unique instrument called a melodica, which looks like a keyboard that is blown into through a mouthpiece. 

During one of the songs, all four performers use plungers that have unusually long handles, pretending they are microphones.  A great comedic ongoing gag that is done in such a way that it continues to generate audience laughter each time is that one member of the quartet has trouble discerning his left from his right. 

I highly recommend FOREVER PLAID which is scheduled to continue to run through March 17, 2024.  It is fun and safe for the whole family.  Those who are fans of the vocal harmony male groups of the fifties will particularly enjoy this production!  For time and tickets, please click the button below.