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Forever Plaid gets Dio Theater off to a terrific start in new home (Review) July 13, 2013

Posted by ronannarbor in Entertainment, musical theater, Musicals.
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What could be better than dinner and a show? And if its a good dinner and a great show, it makes it all the better — and that is what you get from The Dio – Dining and Entertainment this summer with their first production in their new Pinkney-based home, Forever Plaid.

Chef Jarod has prepared a delicious buffet-style dinner which begins serving at 6:30. The Theater itself is in an old opera house, and its beautifully re-designed by owners Steve DeBruyne and Matthew Tomich. As such, it has great acoustics (in fact, they are so good you can’t tell when the actors are using mics and when they are singing live).

This isn’t the first recent local production of Forever Plaid — but it is probably the best. Mostly sung-through (but leaving plenty of time to develop characters for its quartet of male early-1960’s crooners “gone before their time” and returning for one last live show), the intermission-less production zooms by in record time, winding its way through two-dozen tightly harmonized familiar 60’s numbers.

What a cast! Steve DeBruyne, Daniel Clair, Benjamin Dennis, and Thomas Mate create terrific characters on stage, and their vocals are astonishing. Each shows broad range, and director DeBruyne has done marvelous development work for each one — each cast member is different in size, shape, character, facial expressions, and it all combines for a highly entertaining evening. It’ll be hard for you to pick a favorite, as they each have a moment to truly shine.

Cara Manor gives them snappy and tightly choreographed moves that look like they are right out of any real-life 60’s boy-group — don’t underestimate how difficult this material is — and the actors carry it off very well. Shelly Walker’s costume design looks snappy, and Matthew Tomich does super work with the sound and lighting. Eileen Obradovich’s prop design works particularly well in the Ed Sullivan sequence. Mix in two parts musicians (George Cullinan on piano who also has done very good work as Musical Director, and Benjamin Merte on bass) and you have a martini that is well-served shaken or stirred — or in this case a little of both.

A highly entertaining evening out smack dab in the center of Pinkney — for Ann Arborites, thats a 15 minute drive north and a 15 minute drive west, and its a pretty drive. Go. Its fun. Its delicious. And its another great production for this new professional theater company in Livingston County.

Forever Plaid runs through August 3rd. Tickets at: http://www.diotheatre.co or 517-672-6009 or at their box office 135 East Main Street, Pinkney, MI.

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