Elgin Community College Musical Theatre will present its summer production of "Forever Plaid," which features pop hits of the 1950s, from Friday, July 25 through Sunday, Aug. 3, in the SecondSpace Theatre at the ECC Arts Center located in Building H, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. The production starts at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays.
"Forever Plaid" is a deliciously goofy, musical revue homage to the close-harmony "guy groups" of the 1950s. The "Plaids" -- Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie -- are four friends who share a love of music, entertaining, four-part harmony, and a dream of becoming like their idols, the Four Freshman, The Four Aces, The Hi-Lo's and the Crew Cuts.
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As a result, they form their own singing group: Forever Plaid. Unfortunately, on the way to their first big gig, tragedy strikes the Plaids when their car collides with a bus, cutting their lives and singing aspirations short. But the Plaids' story doesn't end there. Miraculously, after decades of refining their harmonies in the afterlife, the Plaids return to the material world and realize their dream of performing a big show.
Featuring classic 1950s songs like "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Chain Gang," and "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" plus tributes to Perry Como and Ed Sullivan, "Forever Plaid" is a comedic, nostalgic, musical trip back in time.
"I grew up in that era of the male quartet and, as a choral conductor, I just love this type of music," says ECC professor John Slawson, DMA, who serves as musical/artistic director. "It's a feel good show. The four characters each have their own eccentricities and quirks so it's fun to see their antics. And then when they turn around and sing, it's just magic."
The set, costumes, and props for this production are also pretty magical. They traveled from Las Vegas to Elgin (over 1,700 miles) to be part of this production. Bryan and Cheri Cory, who are serving as technical director/set coordinator and costume coordinator for the ECC production, have a long history with "Forever Plaid." They worked on the first three national tours in various production roles and Cheri worked as the production stage manager for a Las Vegas production.
This particular set was previously used for a cruise ship production, a Las Vegas production, and as the set for the filmed version of the show. It's now calling Elgin its home through August.
The "Forever Plaid" cast includes Terry Christianson (St. Charles) as Jinx, David Pfenninger (Lombard) as Sparky, Karl Knutson (Aurora) as Frankie, and Jonathan Horn (Sleepy Hollow) as Smudge.
The musical is directed and choreographed by Konnie Kay. "Forever Plaid" was written, originally directed, and choreographed by Stuart Ross with musical continuity supervision and arrangements by James Raitt.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and children age 12 and under. Tickets for all performances in the ECC Arts Center are available online at tickets.elgin.edu or at the ECC box office located in the arts center. Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone, call (847) 622-0300. All major credit cards are accepted.
Visit elgin.edu/arts for more information about the ECC Arts Center, including video clips of upcoming artists and events, the Standing Room Only blog, and links to the Arts Center's Twitter and Facebook pages.
"Forever Plaid" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performances materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th St. NY, NY 10019; 212-941-4685; mtishows.com.