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Plaid Tidings old-timey fun
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Plaid Tidings old-timey fun

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Plaid Tidings ArtsWest
Through December 27


If Perry Como is one of your faves, then you really don't want to miss the show at ArtsWest, Plaid Tidings. Plaid Tidings is a sequel of sorts, stemming from Forever Plaid, a sweet morsel about a group of four '50s singers who die and get a chance to come back and perform again on earth. Plaid Tidings brings them back again for the holidays.

The production is slick and well-done with four lovely singers - John W. Bartley, Aaron C. Finley, Ryan McCabe and Daniel Stoltenberg - a bass player (John VanZanten) and a music director/pianist (R.J. Tancioco). It's cheesy and might make you grin, with '50s sensibility (gosh, gee whiz) and period costuming and choreography. ArtsWest is reprising it following last year's success.

The Plaids find themselves transported back to earth and have to discover why. They've always longed to have their own TV special and have even designed it in miniature. They are ready to sing many of your favorite Christmas tunes, some with tongue-in-cheek arrangements that poke gentle fun. There's some forgettable stuff about trying to figure out the meaning of all this, but you don't really have to pay attention to it.

The sequel was actually written after 9/11 in an effort to give people an experience of gentle humor and fond memories, though it feels like it's been around for a long time. It's now performed around the country, where the familiar tunes bring comfort at the holidays.

The set, designed in 2008 by Max Reichlin, has fun hidey-holes where various props are stashed. You just know that the play can't end until the stage opens up to a life-sized replica of their miniature holiday television show set.

The play is not going to be many people's perennial fave. You have to know who Perry Como is and who Ed Sullivan is, and there are fewer of us every year who remember that stuff, though enough remember that maybe ArtsWest will get enough audience attendance. If you don't know these old-timey performers, you'll still like the songs, dances and bad jokes, but it won't give you a good case of nostalgia.

But if you have hard-to-please relatives, especially older ones, it will be a pleasure to bring them to enjoy the sweet harmonies and the boyish grins on stage. For more information, go to www.artswest.org or call 206-938-0339.

You might also be interested in ArtsWest's New Year's Eve extravaganza with some of our fine local singers appearing, like Jessica Skerritt, Nick DeSantis, Dane Stokinger, and more. Tickets are $50 or two for $85, and include champagne and snacks.

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