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Encore's 'Plaid Tidings' Delivers Holiday Cheer to Audiences

The holiday version of "Forever Plaid" features classic rockabilly music set to a Christmas theme.

The original boy band from the 1960s is back in the saddle again, serving up a heartwarming holiday concert for audiences at the Encore Musical Theatre in Dexter.

Plaid Tidings, the sequel to the '90s musical Forever Plaid marks the return of Sparky, Jinx, Smudge, and Frankie, a teenage singing group who were killed on their way to what was to be their breakout first performance when a bus full of Catholic school girls crashed into their vehicle. And while Forever Plaid offered the Plaids the chance to perform the concert they never got to stage in life, the sequel brings the singing group to earth one more time—but the Plaids have to figure out why.

"They don't really know why they were brought back. They discover through the show that it must be because of Christmas spirit because Christmas lyrics keep popping up in their songs," director/choreographer Barbara Cullen said.

Examples include a "Plaid Caribbean Christmas," which puts a holiday twist on the classic song “Day-O."

Cullen said while playwrights often cringe at writing sequels, show creator Stuart Ross put a lot of thought into Plaid Tidings.

"Unlike like a lot of sequels, you can tell the writers spent a huge amount of time on this show. It's very clever," she said.

As far as the cast, only original Plaid Sebastian Gerstner is returning to the Encore stage to reprise his role as Sparky. The other Plaids will be played by Rusty Mewha, Kevin Rose, and Brian Thibault.

No stranger to the Encore, Mewha played George Bailey in the theater's production of It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical and Oklahoma!

Mewha said performing a show with a script that is 90 percent singing and choreographed dance is a welcomed challenge.

"It's been really fun working with the other guys," he said. "I'm not a trained dancer, so the biggest challenge for me is learning all of the routines."

The slapstick comedy The Plaids are known for is also a departure for Mewha, who said he is often cast in more dramatic roles.

"I enjoy being able to share the burden of leading man with three other guys," he said.

Tickets for Plaid Tidings are on sale now, and may be purchased by calling the Encore's box office at 734-268-6200. The box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 2-6 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.theencoretheatre.org.

Special events for this show include two preview shows on Nov. 23 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18. There will also be an opening night party on Nov. 24 at 8 p.m., and a "Winter Wonderland Party" on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.

"The show is definitely appropriate for the holidays," Mewha said. "The show is designed to make feel good about themselves and their families."

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