To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the off-Broadway standard "Forever Plaid," this presentation was filmed and showcased as a special event in movie theaters across the country. That's a big accomplishment for a little show! But "Plaid" seems to have an enduring appeal. It harkens back to more innocent times, and is both sweetly nostalgic and amusingly corny. The gentle comic tone may be slightly off-putting to new audiences accustomed to flashier entertainment choices--and yet nothing seems to have dulled the glow of this irresistibly appealing production. If you are already a fan, there is really nothing that I can say that will change your mind so buy the DVD already! However, for newer viewers, I'll offer up a bit more.
The story, slight as it is, has to do with a fifties era boy band that were killed in 1964 on the way to their break-through gig. For an unexplained reason, the band reunites from the afterlife five decades later (usually in a small lounge type environment) to complete the performance they were never able to give. Much of the early humor comes from the fact that they are a bit rusty, but as the show proceeds--the numbers get progressively bigger and more appealing. The highlights, for me, have to be the hysterical sing-along calypso and the frantic (and prop laden) recreation of the Ed Sullivan Show. But it's all rather charming and features some of the classic songs of yesteryear including Three Coins in the Fountain, Cry, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Heart and Soul, Rags to Riches, and Chain Gang. I'll be honest--I've seen "Plaid" in various productions throughout the years and this is easily the best incarnation I've encountered. I find it all very sweet and amusing, but I don't know how much appeal it would have to younger viewers.
This production reunites Stan Chandler, David Engel and Larry Raben from the original cast (with an assist from Jersey Boy Daniel Reichard) and was taped in 2009. The film adds some opening graphics, a brief narration from David Hyde Pierce, and some visuals unique to the screen version such as overlapping effects. In truth, these embellishments added little to the experience and a few I found outright distracting. But it's a small point. The show has always succeeded as an intimate stage production and that allure is captured in this showcase. Again, there is no question that existing fans will want to enhance their collection with this DVD. Hopefully, I've given enough information to newbies to ascertain whether this is a good fit or not. KGHarris, 9/11.