by Lorie Lewis Ham
If you enjoy beautiful four-part harmony with a doo-wop flavor, sung by four handsome guys, Forever Plaid is for you and just opened on stage at the Reedley Opera House.
“Basically, the show is about four young male singers with big hopes and dreams whose life was cut short,” said Erik Valencia, who makes his directing debut with this show and also plays Sparky. “But through the alignment of the planets and the expanding holes in the ozone layer, the guys are able to come back for one night to put on the show they never got to do in life.”
Despite the fact that the four guys are technically dead, the show is light and funny with a lot of jokes and great music. On stage you get to see three Reedley River City Theatre Co. regulars—Erik, Michael Angel and Jeff Lusk, along with newcomer Matt Milton.
Prior to directing Plaid, Erik served as assistant director to Mark Norwood for the production of The Sound of Music, last winter and has been stage manager for various shows. But most River City fans know him best for his place on stage, most recently as Danny in Grease this summer.
Having been a fan of this show for several years, Erik was thrilled to have this be his directing debut. The opportunity for Erik to direct came about when Mark Norwood, River City’s Artistic Director, was asked to be a part of an original show written by a friend and that production conflicted with Plaid. “Because of this commitment, he needed someone to direct, so he asked me if I would be interested in directing the show,” said Erik. “I was a little hesitant at first because I really wanted to be in the show. But we talked and he said that he felt I was capable of doing both.”
According to Erik, musically this is one of the most difficult shows they have ever done. “It is very rare for modern musicals to have four part harmonies throughout. It is truly a challenge when you have nearly 20 songs that you have to hold on to your part all alone.”
Thankful to Mark for having the confidence in him to ask him to head up this production, Erik said he feels the training and experience he has gained from working with him over the past 18 years has proven most invaluable on this project. “I would also like to thank the entire cast and crew who spent countless hours to make a difficult production look effortless. Without their help this show would not have been possible.”
As to why he picked this show for River City, Mark said it was because it is a great show with tremendous music. I would have to agree. There’s nothing quite like beautiful four-part harmony. Add in the humor and a dash of charm and it’s the perfect night out at the theatre.
Forever Plaid runs through October 16 For more info check out River City’s KRL theatre page.
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