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Forever Plaid Opens Tidewater Stage's Inaugural Season

By Amanda Morad | July 2, 2013

Forever Plaid Group One

With a step back to the 1950s, Forever Plaid is a musical revue celebrating a well-honored era of American music. The show opens the inaugural season of Regent University's professional theatre company, Tidewater Stage, on Friday, July 5.

Buy tickets at the Box Office.

Forever Plaid centers on four young, eager male singers killed in a car crash on the way to their first big concert, who are now revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was. In the tradition of musical groups like The Four Freshmen and The Four Aces, "The Plaids" revive such favorites as "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Sixteen Tons," and "Chain Gang."

Directed by Regent's own Eric Harrell, producing artistic director of Tidewater Stage, this rendition is one fans of the show will be proud of. "Forever Plaid is an impeccably well-conceived revue of 1950s music," Harrell said. "The musical has an inherent 'formula' to making it work, and we have certainly honored that. However, we've infused our interpretation with fresh characterizations and several surprises that would make any audience member rediscover their love for these great nostalgic tunes."

Forever Plaid runs July 5-7 and 12-14 with show times at 7:30 p.m. and weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Tidewater Stage has been a decade in the making as a professional production arm of the university's academic theatre program, Harrell explained. They chose Plaid to celebrate its arrival with a season of smiles and laughs with its toe-tapping, quick-witted tone.

"This show also required we cast four exceptional actors with superb musical and acting skills as well as razor-sharp comedic timing," Harrell said. "As a professional production, we were able to cast a wide net and hire exceptional talent to meet these dynamic challenges, and they have delivered in spades."

These actors include Regent MFA acting alumni Chris Graham '09 and Andrew Wilson '13, playing Frankie and Jinx respectively, Garney Johnson playing Smudge, and local favorite Derek Leonidoff playing the role of Sparky. Leonidoff is well-known for his role in the Doritos commercial that was top-rated in the 2012 Super Bowl.

"Both Graham and Wilson established themselves as exceptional musical theatre talents during their Regent residency, and it has been great fun to work with them in this new professional arena," Harrell noted. "Johnson has been active in several local theatres, and he played the role of Frankie for over a year in a professional production of Forever Plaid in San Diego. It's been a fun challenge for him to learn a new role in a show with which he was already very familiar.

"Leonidoff is a wonderful comedic actor that has trained with the Groundlings and at the famed Second City Conservatory in Los Angeles. His comedic skills are on brilliant display as the wise-cracking Sparky."

In addition to the cast, several Regent students are working in backstage and administrative positions for the production. Stage management, house management, box office and crew positions have been filled by students in order to give them professional experience before they graduate.

"A professional theatre in residence at a university provides a training laboratory for students to hone their skills and learn first-hand about the realities of the entertainment industry they are preparing to enter," Harrell explained. "These opportunities allow students to earn professional work experience while simultaneously training under the leadership of industry professionals."

Tidewater Stage will continue its opening season in August with Barefoot in the Park.

Buy tickets at the Box Office.

Learn more about Tidewater Stage.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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