BOILING SPRINGS - Close harmony and hilarious hi-jinks make Allenberry Playhouse's "Forever Plaid" irresistibly entertaining.
The heavenly musical revue continues its run at the professional Allenberry Playhouse and Resort now through May 4.
Evening performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with 1 p.m. matinees Tuesday through Sunday.
“Forever Plaid” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with 1 p.m. matinees Tuesday through Sunday.
From the opening night audience's response, it was clear that Artistic Director Rogue Berlanga made a perfect choice to kick off Allenberry's 64th season. Although the show, which salutes the "guy groups" of the 1950s, may not strike a chord with younger theatergoers, "Forever Plaid" struck all the right notes with Allenberry's patrons.
"Forever Plaid" is the name of a fictional 1950s quartet of high school pals who hope to attain fame and fortune. In 1964, while driving to their first big gig at an airport lounge, they were hit broadside by a bus of Catholic school girls on their way to see Elvis Presley on the "The Ed Sullivan Show." Although instantly killed, they are miraculously brought back to life due to some heavenly glitch to give one final performance on Earth. It just happens to be at the Allenberry Playhouse in mid-April.
There's barely a storyline, but no matter, as it is, the classic hits of the '50s are delivered with gusto.
Andrew Edward Thomas, Jr. plays Frankie, the self-appointed leader of the group and Sean Widener is Jinx, prone to nosebleeds.
Alex Reitze plays Smudge, who frequently can't remember his left from his right - hilariously shown during the song "Scotland the Brave" - and Michael Hudson Heath, coming off a rollicking role in this year's Murder Mystery Weekend, plays the always cheerful but equally clueless Sparky, who gives a tribute to Perry Como.
The choreography by Rogue Berlanga is crisp, although not consisting of any traditional dancing, but finger-snapping, twisting, turning, swaying and all the exaggerated movements of the brightly attired male singing groups. An effective light design with changing color hues adds to this revue's production values.
Uniformly, each of the foursome shines with their comic prowess which is matched when vocalizing. Getting heartiest applause were the harmonies really nailed in "Moments To Remember," No, Not Much" and the soaring finale, "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing," when the boys get to don their plaid jackets.
Getting the most laughs were the hysterical "Calypso" sing-a-long and the frantic re-creation of "The Ed Sullivan Show," which was completed in only a little more than three minutes.
AUDIENCE ALERT: If you sit in either the first couple of rows, you may get lured up to the stage and led to the piano, whether or not you know how to play "Heart and Soul."
Wisely played without intermission - with a running time of 85 minutes - Allenberry's production of "Forever Plaid" excels as a melodic reminder of yesteryear, when the times were simpler and the oldies-but-goodies music had harmony.
For reservaions, call 717-258-3211 or visit www.allenberry.com.