December 16, 2010 in Features

‘Plaid’ offers holiday musical

CdA Summer Theatre performance will take on ’50s TV feel
By The Spokesman-Review
If you go

‘Plaid Tidings,’ Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre

When: Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m.

Where: Schuler Performing Arts Center, Boswell Hall, North Idaho College, 1000 W. Garden Ave., Coeur d’Alene

Cost: $25-$30

Contact: (208) 769-7780 or www.cdasummer

The men from “Plaid” are back, and this time, they’re wearing red and green.

The Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s wintertime show is “Plaid Tidings,” the holiday version of “Forever Plaid.”

A cast of CdA Summer Theatre all-stars – Steve Booth, Robby French, Mark Cotter and Christian Duhamel – sing close-harmony Christmas music in a Perry-Como-meets-the- Four-Aces, ’50s style.

“Plaid Tidings” largely follows the same script as the original: A nerdy Four Lads-type harmony quartet is killed in a collision with a school bus full of Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan. The Plaids are granted a heavenly wish to perform one big earthly show.

In this version, that becomes a Christmas show, with the feel of a Perry Como TV special (Como actually appears via video).

So along with “Sha-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)” and “Besame Mucho,” the Plaids will also perform “Joy to the World,” “The Christmas Song,” “Let It Snow,” “Cool Yule” and many other Christmas tunes.

“Plaid” creator Stuart Ross said he wanted to re-create the warmth of those great old ’50s and early ’60s Christmas TV specials.

“When I was growing up, those TV Christmas specials were really wondrous to me in how they translated the warm feelings of Christmas without the commercial crassness,” Ross told the North County Times during a recent run of “Plaid Tidings” at San Diego’s Old Globe.

You’ll even see a send-up of Ed Sullivan’s “Christmas Spectaculars.”

The original “Forever Plaid” has been a popular phenomenon since Ross first came up with the idea in 1990. He estimates that the show has been produced between 700 and 1,000 times all over the world, though he admits that he hasn’t kept track.

One of those productions was a big hit for the CdA Summer Theatre in 1999. Cotter was one of the Plaids back then, and he returns for this version.

Duhamel and French are popular veterans of many Summer Theatre shows, most memorably in 2007’s “The Full Monty.”

This will be a homecoming for Booth, a Coeur d’Alene actor who developed his talent in CdA Summer Theatre productions of “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (as Joseph) and “Pippin” (as Pippin).

He went on to appear in “Glory Days” and “Avenue Q” on Broadway and to play Richie Cunningham in the first national tour of “Happy Days.”

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