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Forever Plaid is an off-Broadway musical revue written by Stuart Ross in New York in 1990 and now performed internationally. The show is a revue of the close-harmony "guy groups" (e.g. The Four Aces, The Four Freshmen) that reached the height of their popularity during the 1950s. Personifying the clean-cut genre are the Plaids. This quartet of high-school chums dreams of recording an album ended in death in a collision with a bus filled with Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles' American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The play begins with the Plaids returning from the afterlife for one final chance at musical glory.
The songs they sing during the course of the musical include: "Three Coins in the Fountain"; "Undecided"; "Gotta Be This or That"; "Moments to Remember"; "Crazy 'Bout Ya, Baby"; "No, Not Much"; "Sixteen Tons"; "Chain Gang"; "Perfidia"; "Cry"; "Heart and Soul"; "Lady of Spain"; "Scotland the Brave"; "Shangri-La"; "Rags to Riches"; and "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing".
The original cast included Jason Graae (Sparky); Stan Chandler (Jinx); David Engel (Smudge); and Guy Stroman (Frankie). The musical opened May 20, 1990 at Steve McGraw's in New York City after engagements at The West Bank Cafe, The American Stage Company and The Wisdom Bridge Theatre. Musical arrangements, vocal arrangements and musical direction were by James Raitt; the show was written, directed, and choreographed by Stuart Ross.
The play was produced as a motion picture for release on July 9, 2009 starring Chandler and Engel from the original cast, with Larry Raben and Daniel Reichard taking over for Sparky and Francis, respectively. David Hyde Pierce guest stars as the narrator. David Snyder served as musical director and pianist. The movie was written and directed by the show's original creator, Stuart Ross, and edited by Oscar and Emmy winner Alan Helm. The performances of "The Golden Cardigan" and "Catch a Falling Star" are notably absent.
The Pasadena Playhouse and Neptune Theatre (Halifax), famous for its versions of the original, ran a sequel called Plaid Tidings, a holiday version with modified story and songs. It is available for licensing through Music Theatre International.
A version for high schools, The Sound of Plaid: Forever Plaid School Version, is being created by Music Theatre International.