The Lipscomb Academy production of Forever Plaid opened on November 2 and brought together four of the academy’s most talented singers to showcase a 1950’s era barber shop quartet style of singing.
The show opens as “the Plaids,” four high school friends who formed a quartet, return from the afterlife for one more performance after their tragic deaths in a car accident on their way to a concert.
Directed by Elizabeth Harrell, who fell in love with the musical when she saw it for the first time as a student at Harding University, the show had the smallest cast of any academy production with only four members. The cast members were Noah Adams, Sam Hearn, Chase Meador and Scott Wilson.
Auditions began the second week of school and rehearsal started while all the members were also producing One Act Plays. With One Act rehearsals in the afternoon, the cast of Forever Plaid came to school early to rehearse for the musical for three weeks.
After the production of the extremely successful One Acts, the Plaids rehearsed every afternoon for two months in preparation for the musical. Most of the Plaids had never heard of the musical and the music “is written intricately and not easily learned,” said Harrell. The students, whose oldest member was born in 1995, had to be educated about the 1950’s era in order to understand the characters they were portraying.
Performed in Lipscomb University’s Shamblin Theater, the musical attracted more than 450 spectators during the first weekend in November. The cast performed songs like Moments to Remember, Catch a Falling Star and Heart and Soul with a comedic flair that was brought easily by the experienced cast. “Those four guys have so much personality that I did not have to give them many acting tips; they interpreted the show really well,” said Harrell.
The show, which is almost entirely musical numbers, is largely about ensemble sound, while giving each of the members several solos apiece. “My favorite songs were the ‘Mercury Jingle’ and I thought the Lady of Spain was the most entertaining,” said Harrell.
The all-boys cast of Forever Plaid was supported by the all-girls cast of Steel Magnolias, who helped promote the musical and sold tickets and coffee to the audience. Steel Magnolias will debut on December 6 in Lipscomb Academy’s Acuff Chapel.