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Way Off Broadway takes ‘Plaid Tidings’ around Iowa

Nov 26, 2012

Way Off Broadway is taking its production of “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” to several venues in Iowa. “Forever Plaid” is a musical filled with tight four-part male harmonies as an all-boys band is sent back from heaven for one more concert.

“Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” is a brand-new show that offers the best of the original “Forever Plaid” tied-up in a nifty package with a big Christmas bow on top. Filled with Christmas standards that have all been “Plaid-erized,” the boys are back to do their Christmas special.

“Plaid Tidings” is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at The Coralville Performing Arts Center. Additional performances are scheduled 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at Hanson Auditorium in Manchester and 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at Heatilator Performing Arts Center in Mount Pleasant before bringing the show to The Stephen Sondheim Center in Fairfield for a four-day engagement at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13-15 and 2 p.m. Dec. 16.

At first Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky aren’t sure why they’ve returned to Earth for another posthumous performance, but a phone call from the heavenly Rosemary Clooney lets them know that they’re needed to put a little harmony into a discordant world.

Sprinkled among the Christmas offerings are audience favorites like their riotous three-minute and eleven-second version of “The Ed Sullivan Show” — this time featuring the Rockettes, the Chipmunks and The Vienna Boys Choir and a Plaid Caribbean Christmas which puts the “Day-O” in Excelsis!

Way Off Broadway has assembled a cast of wonderful musicians. Making his Way Off Broadway debut, Jonathan Christopher (Smudge) was raised in Bermuda and Massachusetts before completing studies in opera and theatre at McGill University in Montreal and the University of Michigan. Opera has taken Christopher to stages in Michigan, Montreal, North Carolina, New York and Milan, Italy, in roles including the illustrious Don Giovanni, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, and Marcello in La Bohème. Theatre credits include Mr. Lindquist in “A Little Night Music,” Corin in “As You Like It,” The Priest in “Wole Soyinka’s Madmen and Specialists” and the title role in “Sweeney Todd.”

Evan Tyrone Martin (Sparky) returns to Way Off Broadway from Chicago, where his recent credits include MC/Jerry in “Dreamgirls,” Bishop in “Floyd Collins” and Flick in “Violet.” Martin’s past Way Off Broadway credits include The Sergeant in “Pirates of Penzance,” Snoopy in “Snoopy!! The Musical,” Berger in “Hair” and Jim in “Big River.” In the spring, Martin will be doing “See What I Wanna See” with Bailiwick Chicago at the Steppenwolf Garage.

Another Way Off Broadway favorite, Ryan Gaffney (Frankie), is back as well. Raised in eastern Iowa, Gaffney currently resides in Chicago, where he has been seen most recently in “Opus 1861” and “Violet.” Way Off Broadway credits include Huck in “Big River,” Claude in “Hair,” Scarecrow in “The Wizard Of Oz,” Smee in “Peter Pan,” Marcellus in “Music Man” and Hero in “A Funny Thing ... Forum.”

Way Off Broadway has brought back Chaz’men Williams-Ali. A young tenor from St. Louis, Mo., Williams-Ali is completing his studies at the University of Iowa in voice. In 2008, he made his professional opera debut as Marco in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers” with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, and also sang Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte in Milan, Italy in 2010. Other operatic roles include Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata and most recently, Romeo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette. He has given many memorable Way Off Broadway performances, in “Big River,” as The Lion in “The Wizard Of Oz” and Genie in “Aladdin.”

“Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” is musically directed by Shari Rhoads and directed and choreographed by Randal K. West.

Each hosting theatre has tickets on sale through its box office. The Sondheim Center Box Office can be reached at 472-ARTS or by going to FairfieldACC.com


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