Rubicon Theatre audiences are invited to “rejoice and be plaid” this holiday season as Ventura’s non-profit professional theatre company presents the hilarious and heartwarming musical comedy PLAID TIDINGS, which begins previews December 11 and continues through December 29 at the theatre’s home in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District. The production is directed by the original creator STUART ROSS, a beloved member of the New York and L.A. theatre community whose vast credits include Broadway and work with Manhattan Theatre Club, Radio City Music Hall, the Public Theatre, York Theatre, San Diego’s Old Globe, and Pasadena Playhouse, where PLAID TIDINGS originally premiered.
PLAID TIDINGS is a heavenly holiday hit. It tells the story of a loveable, nerdy “guy group” from the 50s and 60s ( in the style of the Four Lads, The Four Freshman and The Crew Cuts) who were struck down in the prime of life and are now sent back to Earth to perform the big holiday concert they never got to perform in life. The show includes holiday favorites such as “Cool Yule,” “Let it Snow,” and “Joy to the World”; a hysterically funny speed-date version of “The Ed Sullivan Show” featuring the Rockettes, the Chipmunks and The Vienna Boys Choir; and other memorable hits from the era, like “Sh-Boom,” “Fever” and “Hey There.”
The Los Angeles Times called PLAID TIDINGS “a many splendored thing.” Variety described the show as Musical utopia…the perfect show. And the Daily News called the show “heaven-sent holiday fare.”
Rubicon’s production runs Wednesdays through Sundays (except Christmas Day) at the theatre, located at 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura (the corner of Main and Laurel). For tickets, go to www.rubicontheatre.org or call 805.667.2900.
About the Cast and the Characters
The cast for PLAID TIDINGS includes SEAN BELL, ADOLPHO BLAIRE, JOSHUA DAVID CAVANAUGH and ZACHARY EDWARDS, all making their Rubicon Theatre debuts.
SEAN BELL plays the character of Smudge, the chronic worrier in the group whose good looks and natural appeal are hidden behind his glasses and nervous demeanor. BELL’s credits include National Tours of A Bronx Tale (Sally Slick) and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Other NY credits include Forever Plaid: The Event (Smudge), Stardust Road (Various Roles) Ni**er/Fa**ot (F), All American (Edwin Bricker), The Nutcracker and I (Nutcracker). TV credits include “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO), and “Red Oaks” and “Z: The Beginning of Everything” (Amazon).
ADOLPHO BLAIRE AND ZACHARY EDWARDS play step-brothers Sparky and Jinx, respectively. Sparky is the “cut-up” of the group who sings with bravura and loves to perform. He is especially excited to share the moment the group met Perry Como. Jinx is shy and forgetful but finds his talent and his moment in the sun with “Besame Mucho”/”Kiss of Fire.” Born in Landstuhl, Germany, BLAIRE is a B.F.A. graduate of Shenandoah Conservatory. His New York credits include High School Talent Show at Upright Citizen's Brigade, and productions at Ars Nova, Secret Theatre and Waxler. He appeared in the National Tour of A Chorus Line and may be seen in the film “Across the Universe.” EDWARDS appeared in the First National Tours of An American in Paris and Young Frankenstein, and the New York City Opera production of Candide directed by Hal Prince. Other New York credits include No No Nanette (City Center Encores) and Yank! (York Theater).
JOSHUA DAVID CAVANAUGH plays the humble group leader Frankie in the Rubicon production, whose breakout number is, surprisingly, a gangsta’ rap version of one of the carols. Cavanaugh holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Chapman University and an M.M. in Vocal Performance from NYU. His most recently Plaid resurrection was at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York. Other regional credits include Treasure Island (Fulton), Light in the Piazza and Sweeney Todd (The Rev), First Date (SDMT and PRiMA), Little Women and Peter and the Starcatcher (The Barn Stage Company), The Untitled John Mayer Project (The Merc), and Dracula (The Dio).
PLAID TIDINGS is designed by EVAN A. BARTOLETTI (scenic), JOHN GAROFALO (Lighting Designer), and JONATHAN BURKE (Sound Designer). Others on the creative team include ANDREW M. CHUKERMAN (Music Director), DAVID S. HUMPHREY (Assistant Director) and Production Stage Manager JESSIE VACCHIANO
More on the Director
STUART ROSS is a veteran of the New York and Los Angeles stages. He created and directed the original production of Forever Plaid, and has staged the show in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Tokyo and London. Ross wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics for the highly acclaimed musical Radiant Baby at New York’s Public Theatre, directed by George C. Wolfe. He also adapted the script and lyrics of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Stuart adapted and directed the highly acclaimed Enter Laughing: The Musical in New York at the York Theatre, Bay Street Theatre and at The Wallis- Annenberg in Beverly Hills. With collaborator Mark Hampton, he co-created the jazz musical The Boswell Sisters, staging the premiere at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre. On Broadway, he co-wrote the Tony nominated musical Starmites, as well as the Radio City Music Hall Easter Show.
Ross’ numerous Off-Broadway credits include Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, Subways are for Sleeping, The Heebie Jeebies, Not-So-New Faces, Tea with Bea, and Fun with Dick and Jane: The Musical. As a director, he has worked at some of the country’s most prestigious theatres: Manhattan Theatre Club, San Diego’s Old Globe, The Goodspeed Opera House and Studio Arena. For television, Ross directed episodes of “Frasier” and “Veronica’s Closet.” Has also staged and created special materials for PBS’s “Great Performances: An Evening at the Pops” starring Jason Alexander.
For more than a decade, Ross worked as Director/Dramaturg and/or writer at the National Music Theatre Conference, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center and was a panelist for the ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop. He wrote and directed the screenplay of Forever Plaid for Hudson Bay Pictures, which appeared throughout the country. Ross graduated from Clark University, studied professionally at Circle in the Square Professional Theatre School and at the University of Manchester in Great Britain. He was honored to be the recipient of a U.S. State Department grant, and is the recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Award, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and numerous other theatre awards in the U.S.
Custom-Created PLAID for Rubicon Audiences
Ross is in the midst of writing new arrangements and script changes for the upcoming PLAID TIDINGS so that Rubicon audiences will have their own custom-made PLAID. Says Ross, “With each production I direct, I like to customize the staging for the actors performing in the show and for the theatre itself. I have always loved the work of the Rubicon and am very excited about creating a special and unique production for this warm, intimate space.”
When asked about the history of PLAID TIDINGS and the “Plaid Phenomenon,” Ross explains, I had been asked over and over to create a holiday sequel based on FOREVER PLAID. I resisted the idea. I felt sequels were for movies like SPIDER MAN, HARRY POTTER, etc. (Can you imagine - PLAID MEN AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, MEN IN PLAID IV, SPARKY AND THE CUMMERBUND OF FIRE, PLAID OF THE RINGS -THE LAST STAND?) But finally I realized that sequels have been around since Shakespeare wrote Henry 1V, Part 2.”
“After 9/11, I was approached by Pasadena Playhouse to create a holiday edition of FOREVER PLAID. They had to cancel the play that they were going to present because of its political subject matter,” continues Ross. “I embraced the opportunity to lift all of our spirits with a little cozy holiday joy. I attempted to create a Plaid Holiday Party for the Playhouse. Over the years the show has evolved to what you are going to see at the Rubicon. Happily the show keeps evolving.”
“Each year brings joys and tribulations for the world, the country and our loved ones. Here’s hoping a little musical-holiday cheer will put you in the mood to appreciate the good that is always around us,” concludes Ross.
Adds Rubicon Producing Artistic Director, KARYL LYNN BURNS, “We are thrilled to have this show as part of Rubicon’s True North Season. Stuart has written a perfect holiday show about creating harmony and the fulfillment of being part of something larger than ourselves.”
PLAID TIDINGS is sponsored in part by Barbara Meister. In addition to the above, Rubicon “True North” Season Sponsors also include Stacey and John Birchfield, BBA, Blue Touch Productions, Anonymous, Janet and Mark L. Goldenson, Jordan Laby, and Sue and Simon Ruddick.
Tickets and Pricing
Regular ticket prices for PLAID TIDINGS range from $39 to $74, with discounts for students, seniors and military. Discounts are also available for groups of 15 or more, with free tickets for group organizers, waived processing fees and other benefits. The show is appropriate for all types of groups – church, temple, social and civic club, corporate, neighborhood, school, etc.; and recommended for ages 8 and older.
Performance Schedule and Special Performances
PLAID TIDINGS opens on Saturday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District, with a party following at Water’s Edge on the Harbor. Low-priced previews are Wednesday, December 11 at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. and Friday, December 13 at 8 p.m. The production continues Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays and 2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through December 29, 2019. There is no performance on Christmas Day. An additional matinee has been added on Saturday, December 14. Talkbacks are scheduled following the all Wednesday performances except the first preview. For tickets, go to www.rubicontheatre.org or call (805) 667-2900.
Rubicon Theatre continues the company’s 22nd True North Season December 11 through 29 with the heavenly musical hit PLAID TIDINGS, the hilarious and heartwarming story of a loveable, nerdy “guy group” from the ‘50s who have been brought back to Earth to provide a little harmony in a discordant world. Songs include holiday songs such as “Cool Yule,” “Let It Snow” and “Joy to the World,” a 3-minute speed-date version of “The Ed Sullivan Show” and memorable tunes from ‘50s and ‘60s like “Sh-Boom,” “Hey There,” and “Fever.”
Low-Priced Preview Performances
Wednesday, December 11 at 7 p.m. ($39)
Thursday, December 12 at 7 p.m. ($44)
Friday, December 13 at 8 p.m. ($49)
Regular Performance Times and Prices
Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. ($69) (Talkbacks follow all Wednesday evening shows except the December 11 preview)
Thursdays at 7 p.m. ($65)
Fridays at 8 p.m. ($69)
Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. ($69)
Sundays at 2 p.m. ($69)
Rubicon Theatre Company
Ventura's Downtown Cultural District
1006 E. Main St. Ventura, CA 93001
Ticket Range: $39 - $74 ($150 for opening night including post-show party at Water’s Edge
Prices above do not include a $5 ticket service fee
Discounts Available for Groups of 15+ (up to 20% with waived processing fee and other benefits)
Discounts for Seniors 65 and over, Students, Teachers and Active Military available
Box Office (for single and group tickets): 805.667.2900