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Plaid Tidings' presents holiday version of 'Forever Plaid'

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Lyric at the Plaza opened last week, sporting the classiest renovation imaginable for the Thrities-era former cinema on N.W. 16th Street.

 

New seating for just shy of 300 people, catwalks, a versatile stage area, and new sound and lights all come together to make this a terrific intimate venue the city can glow about. Its inaugural show, "Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings," is also a first local production.

 

Fans of the original "Forever Plaid" may be surprised to learn that "Plaid Tidings" is not a sequel, but a "holiday edition" of the musical. Some material is new, but most is basically cut and pasted from the original concept, in which The Plaids, a Fifties male quartet, are killed in a car crash on the way to a show.

 

In "Plaid Tidings," they spend nearly the whole first act trying to figure out why they're here, which quickly feels flat and contrived. The audience knows exactly why they're there and would like them to get on with it. By the time they do, it's apparent that this recycled version doesn't radiate the freshness or energy of the original.

 

It's not that the cast members aren't good; they absolutely are. Byron DeMent (Jinx), Micah Green (Sparky), Scott Guthrie (Smudge) and Richard True (Frankie) all have energy to burn and a good blend of voices. They give spark to numbers like "Kingston Market," "Mambo Italiano," "Matilda, Matilda" and the funny "Carol of the Bells." John Cole on bass and Phillip Kirchman on keyboard play a great duet accompaniment.

 

For a trip to check out the new gem of a theater in town, this is worth the evening. But the "Plaid Tidings" script is neither new nor improved.

 

-Linda McDonald

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