(L-R) Douglas Graham (Frankie), Levi Derowin (Jinx), Keenan Nooskey (Sparky), Cristian Jonsson (Smudge) are the quartet with big dreams from 55 years ago. Photo submitted

Forever Plaid set to take the stage in Ponoka

Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society’s production features pop group that comes back to life

Tickets are now on sale for Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society’s annual mainstage production, with performances from Nov. 23 to Dec. 8. The show is Forever Plaid, featuring a pop group from years gone by that comes back to life in 2019 to perform their show for the very first time.

The harmony group is comprised of Jinx, Frankie (“his REAL name is Francis”), Sparky, and Smudge, a quartet with big dreams that – if it weren’t for a tragic bus accident – would have got its big break in 1964 at an airport Hilton cocktail bar. 55 years pass, and “because of all the astro-technical stuff, like the stars being in conjunction with the positions of the planets and the sounds of our voices”, it’s finally possible for them to do the show which they couldn’t, and now can.

The Plaids open their show with Three Coins in the Fountain, a song which Frank Sinatra topped the charts with for three weeks in 1954. Next is Gotta Be This Or That, once made famous by Ella Fitzgerald. Then Undecided, played at a significantly faster tempo than the Ames Brothers’ 1951 hit. And then there’s the stories. How the members of the group met (in the “projector sector” at their school’s audio visual club). Where they rehearsed (in the stockroom of Smudge’s parents’ plumbing supply company). Why they could never seem to learn Spanish (because they found their Spanish teacher so distracting). They do attempt to sing a verse of one of their favourite songs in Spanish in her honour though.

There is most definitely not any audience participation, so don’t worry about that.

Producer Graham Boyes says he has been eager to put on the show ever since he first saw a cast of Plaids perform Crazy ‘Bout Ya Baby in Vancouver in 1996. Twenty-three years later, he says, he is finally getting around to it.

“Finding four male singers in central Alberta was a bit of a challenge,” he deadpans. Unable to find a fourth cast member, Boyes originally cast himself as Sparky, but was able to find an available baritone shortly after rehearsals started.

Boyes says he hopes the show will spark renewed interest in performing arts in Ponoka. “We desperately need volunteers,” Boyes says candidly. Just seven people contributed the bulk of the volunteer hours to this year’s show. “Seven extremely dedicated people,” adds Boyes.

Levi Derowin, who plays Jinx, most recently performed for Klaglahachie as a 13-year-old Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. Cristian Jonsson (Smudge) is new to Klaglahachie, but not new to Ponoka – he frequently performs at Ponoka United Church with ZAP Theatre.

Douglas Graham (Frankie) and Keenan Nooskey (Sparky) are exciting new additions to Klaglahachie. Director Tanya Heyden-Kaye and vocal coach Perry Wilson are long-time actors with the company. Graham Boyes was the company’s technical director until 2018 when he stepped into the role of producer for SUDS: The Rocking 60s Musical Soap Opera.

Tickets to see this musical ghost quartet – and find out why a group that calls themselves “The Plaids” wears plain white jackets – are available at Ponoka United Church weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by phone at 403-783-4081, online at kfatheatre.com and at Hamilton’s IGA. The show runs approximately an hour and 45 minutes and features a traditional Bob Ronnie dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. Earlybird tickets ($20) are available until Nov. 15.

– Submitted by Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society

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