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“Forever Plaid” provides challenges to young actors

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CW/ Austin Bigoney

CW/ Austin Bigoney

CW/ Austin Bigoney

Jared Ferguson, Contributing Writer

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The 1950’s introduced important new aspects to music, including quartet groups. “Forever Plaid” features one group with an interesting twist.

The show  tells the story of a group of four young musicians who were killed in a car accident before their careers event started. Now in a state of purgatory, the group of four come together to perform one final concert in modern day before they are finally put to rest.

Stacy Alley, the director and choreographer of the show, touched on what it was like to work with the four actors,Jacob Abbott, Colton Crowe, Alex Freeman and Parker Reeves. 

“I am working with four guys and this is not their first rodeo,” Alley said.  “They are all theatre students of some kind and have studied the craft, as it were. So they come in and bring in their talents and personalities to the characters.”

Alley also highlighted the challenges that the students faced when preparing for the show.

“The challenge is that they have to sound amazing, they go on this journey in a short period of time because the play is only an hour and ten minutes and there is no intermission,” said Alley. “They go on this journey in this short period of time, we see them grow as people and see them start to appreciate the life that they had.”

Crowe, who plays Smudge, describes the struggles his character faces in the show.

“Smudge is the one who worries the most in the group,” said Crowe. “He is always worried that people are not going to like him. He has significant anxiety, but our director Stacy must also be the group’s choreographer, because he is always on top of the group performing properly.”

Terry Moore, the music director of the show, discussed the challenge of directing the different style of music for the young actors.

“That is the generation of music that I grew up with, and so to teach them something that is completely out of their realm of knowledge was difficult,” Moore said. “This music is significantly harder than what it sounds like when they have performed it. It sounds simple, but is a whole different style of music than what current pop music is.”

Despite challenges within and outside of the show, “Forever Plaid” isn’t strictly serious. Sparky, played by Reeves, lightens the tension by providing comedic relief.

“I feel like Sparky is the jokester,” said Reeves. “He does not take himself that seriously and he enjoys performing but most of the time, he is just trying to make the audience laugh.”

Freeman takes on the role of group leader as Frankie. He mentions how his character is integral to the group.

“He is the one that probably organized the set list and makes sure the concert goes as flawlessly as possible, given the circumstances,” said Freeman. “He is the one who interacts with the audience the most and keeps them involved.”

Although each character comes with a distinctive personality trait, each grows throughout the show. Abbott, who portrays the character of Jinx, discussed his how character becomes more confident/

“He is scared of people and of the stage,” said Abbott. “It takes him a while to warm up to the crowd. He has a character arc throughout the show of becoming more comfortable around the audience.”

Theatre Tuscaloosa will host the performances from September 7-September 16. Details for purchasing tickets are found on the Theatre Tuscaloosa website.

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“Forever Plaid” provides challenges to young actors