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Offering a fresh way of helping you keep up with art and entertainment happenings around the Capital District.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

plaid knows no age

I had a hard time getting a companion for the opening of "Forever Plaid" on Tuesday night. It might have been the wet dreary weather at the near end of a long summer. It might be most of my theater friends have already seen dozens of "Forever Plaids."

There are some who just make snide remarks about my personality making it difficult to get people to go with me to a show. They shall be ignored.

Even my daughter Lisa couldn't go (or found a reason not to go), but she suggested I take her 13-year old daughter Stephanie. The thought hadn't occurred to me.

This is a musical featuring the music of the 1950s. We're talking songs like "Three Coins In a Fountain," "Love is a Many Splendid Thing," "Moments to Remember." A big number is "Cry" made famous by Johnny Ray. Try and explain Johny Ray to a modern 13-year old.

"Forever Plaid" is about a "guys group" who return to earth to be provided with an opportunity to perform a concert that was denied them in life. On their way to a gig their van was hit by a bus filled with girls from a parochial school. The girls were on their way to see the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. Never mind Stephanie had no idea of the Ed Sullivan Show - did she even know about the Beatles?

Her answer was "Yes, I've heard of the Beatles," and sure I'll go with you to the show. I figured that was fair enough since I have NEVER heard of half the bands on her Ipod. I didn't mention the Plaids do a salute to Perry Como. No sense pushing it.

During the show she was listening intently to the music, laughing at the silly behavior of the guys who were supposed to be nervous performing before a large number of people. She didn't sing along with the rest of the audience during "Matilda," but was happily startled when one of the performers approached from the rear and sang in her ear. She laughed like crazy when the performers did a 3 minute 11 second version of the Ed Sullivan Show. She had no idea that it was an accurate spoof, she just thought it was funny.

At the end of the 90-minute show she insisted she "really liked it." How about the music? You won't be seeing the quote in any of Proctors ads but she said without sarcasm - "For old people's music it was really good." Which I think she meant as a compliment.

I understand her feelings. Although I lived through the era I was never a fan of the pop music of the 50s. I found it sappy and sentimental. Even then I was a person who liked music to tell a story and thus preferred Broadway tunes or folk songs. I liked jazz and was just starting to appreciate classical music.

But I too can appreciate the songs in "Forever Plaid." It is music that reflects the mood of a certain more innocent era. The performers in "Forever Plaid" so care about the music you have to share their respect for the songs. And too, the music was handpicked to represent the best of the period. They do not sing Sha-Boom or other lyrically impaired songs. It's mostly songs about lost love and a longing to be happy.

That's something a 13-year old of 2010 can appreciate, as well as can her grandfather who is a little older than that.


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