Theatre — 'Plaid' Resurrects Classic, Classy Time In Music

The 50’s are alive again at the Palace Theatre

‘Plaid’ resurrects classic, classy time in music

By Michelle Saturley []


Before N’Sync, The Backstreet Boys or even New Kids on the Block, there were the boy bands of the 1950s, whose dreamy, clean-cut good looks and tight four-part harmonies made the girls swoon and the parents happy.

Alas, their time in the sun was short-lived, thanks to a quartet of mop-topped lads from Liverpool.

The Palace Theatre’s upcoming production of Forever Plaid, opening Friday, September 17 and running through September 25, will bring audiences back to that brief moment in musical history when parents and teenagers enjoyed the same type of music. The high-energy musical tells the story of four slightly geeky but nonetheless adorable guys (they meet in Audio-Visual Cub, natch) who form a singing group called Forever Plaid.

The four actors are New York-based performers who jumped at the chance to do the show in Manchester.

“It’s a fun show for an actor to perform,” said Adam Kemmerer, who plays the role of Frankie. “The script is funny, the music includes some of the classic standards of the ’50s, and we get to really connect with the audience. It’s the kind of show that doesn’t get produced that often, but actors love to do.”

Kemmerer has appeared in other Palace Theatre productions, including last season’s hit musical Crazy for You, and was happy to return to Manchester.

“I’m starting to get a feel for the place,” he said.

Jeffrey Victor, who plays Sparky, says that rehearsals have been tough but fun. “We call it theater boot camp,” he said. “We have about two weeks to learn the four-part harmony arrangements and the choreography. It’s given us a whole new appreciation for the real boy bands of that era. They made it look so easy.”

“I think the show has a wide appeal to people of any age,” said Daniel Lee Robbins, who plays Jinx. “Even people who may not be familiar with the style of music will enjoy this show because of its clever premise and the comedy involved.”

For the uninitiated, here’s the premise: Sparky, Frankie, Jinx and Smudge (portrayed by Josh R. Noble), are four ‘golly-gee’ guys who form a singing group. On their way to the biggest gig of their young career, the boys are killed in a car accident by a school bus carrying a group of teenage girls heading to the Ed Sullivan theater to see the American television debut of The Beatles. The boys find themselves in a metaphysical limbo between earth and heaven for more than 40 years until one day they are granted a wish to come back to present-day Manchester to perform one final concert at the Palace Theatre.

The musical numbers include some of the most well known tunes of the era, such as “Three Coins in a Fountain,” “Papa Loves Mambo,” “Heart and Soul,” and “Sixteen Tons.”

“There is a lot of heart to this show,” Noble said. “Sure, the characters are kind of goofy, but they’re also very earnest and likeable. We’re looking forward to bringing this to an audience.”

Tickets are still available for Forever Plaid, running Friday, Sept. 17 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 18 and 25 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $20 to $40. To purchase tickets, call the Palace box office at 668-5588, or visit

—Michelle Saturley

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