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ICT Opens 32nd Season with Crowd-Pleasing Musical FOREVER PLAID

What better way to start the new year than with a goofy, charming musical escape? Forever Plaid by Stuart Ross, one of the most popular and successful off-Broadway musicals in history, opens February 17 at International City Theatre. Two low-priced previews take place on Feb. 15 and 16.

In Forever Plaid, four young singers killed in a car crash find themselves miraculously revived from the dead. Since the accident happened while on the way to their first-ever big concert, they're thrilled that they get to fulfill their dream and perform the show after all - even though now it's more than 50 years later and they're at International City Theatre.

Co-directed by former "Plaids" Scott Dreier and Kurtis Simmons and with musical direction by Brian Baker, this ICT revival stars Jackson Hinden as Sparky, Travis Leland as Frankie, Robert Petrarca as Smudge and Nick Tubbs as Jinx. Singing in close harmony, squabbling over the smallest intonations and executing their choreography with gentle comedic abandon, the four Plaids will keep everyone smiling and humming along to some of the great pop hits of the '50s. The crowd-pleasing score consists of unforgettable classics including "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Catch a Falling Star," "Chain Gang," "Cry," "Heart and Soul," "Rags to Riches," "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" and many more.

While Forever Plaid may be nostalgic for some, Ross did not intend it be a walk down memory lane. He wanted to create something that everyone could relate to, not just those familiar with the music.

"It's a story about dreams living on even after you're dead," Ross said in an interview. "The most important thing is that you have the dream. There are a lot of quasi-serious undertones besides funny, campy business."

The ICT revival will be based on the original staging.

"I was taught the show by Stuart, and we want to stay true to his vision," explains Dreier, who was directed by Ross for the official San Diego company, where he played Smudge for 2-1/2 years. "I've seen the play done numerous times in all kinds of ways. It always works, but I think it works best when it's done the way it was intended - no gimmicks, no broad comedy, nothing over the top. Just getting back to a simpler time."

Forever Plaid premiered in New York in 1989, where it ran for five years. Since then, it has been produced across the country and internationally. George Bush, Bill Clinton and the Queen of England have all enjoyed performances, and the album is one of the most successful off-Broadway soundtracks ever. In 2009, Forever Plaid was released as a feature film.

"It's such a magical show," Dreier says. "It just takes you away for 90 minutes."

The creative team for Forever Plaid includes set designer Christopher Scott Murillo, lighting designer Stacy McKenney, costume designer Kim DeShazo, Sound Designer Dave Mickey, props designers Patty and Gordon Briles and hair and wigs designer Anthony Gagliardi. Casting is by Michael Donovan and the production stage manager is Molly McGraw.

Forever Plaid runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., Feb. 17 through March 5. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, Feb. 16, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $47 on Thursdays and Fridays, and $49 on Saturdays and Sundays, except for the Opening Night Gala on Feb. 17, for which tickets are $55 (includes a post show reception) or $125 (includes both a pre-performance dinner and post-show reception). Low-priced tickets to previews are $35. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 330 East Seaside Way in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call 562-436-4610 or go to InternationalCityTheatre.org.


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