North Central College - Naperville, IL

Students stage lighthearted musical comedy “Forever Plaid”

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From left: Max DeTogne ’13, Tanner Smale ’12, Garrett Lutz ’12, Bryan Renaud ’13
From left: Max DeTogne ’13, Tanner Smale ’12, Garrett Lutz ’12, Bryan Renaud ’13

May 2, 2011—North Central College will stage “Forever Plaid,” an affectionate, toe-tapping musical homage to the harmonic guy groups from the 1950s. Senior theatre major Angie Snodgrass of Naperville will direct this Stuart Ross musical comedy on May 26-29 as part of the College’s Student Director Series.  

Five performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. May 26, 27 and 28 and at 2 p.m. May 28 and 29 in the theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. Tickets are $10/adults, $8/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

“Forever Plaid” is the story of four high-school chums—Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Francis—who discovered they shared an affection for music and entertaining. After performing and rehearsing together, they dreamed of becoming like their idols—the Four Aces, Four Freshmen and the Crew Cuts—and formed a group called The Plaids, a name that connects traditional values of family, home and harmony.

They devoted themselves to singing wherever and whenever they could and finally landed their first big gig. While driving their Mercury convertible to pick up their custom-made plaid tuxedos, the four were slammed broadside by a school bus filled with Catholic teens on their way to see the Beatles’ debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The teens escaped, but the members of The Plaid were killed instantly. When their careers and lives ended, the story of “Forever Plaid” begins. The quartet is allowed to return from the afterlife for one final chance at musical glory.

Snodgrass says she chose to direct “Forever Plaid” because of the music’s beauty and difficulty, as well as the honest acting that’s required to pull off the characters. “I was able to cast four of the most talented men I have ever worked with. The audience will be blown away by their talent just as I am at every rehearsal. Along with their incredible talent, the audience can expect everything from tears to laughter to fire breathing. This is a heartwarming story of second chances and chasing your dreams.”

The principal parts for North Central’s “Forever Plaid” are:

Parts: Actor, town, year, major
Francis: Tanner Smale of Elkhart, Ind., a junior majoring in musical theatre with a minor in dance
Sparky: Garrett Lutz of Aurora, Ill., a junior majoring in musical theatre
Smudge: Bryan Renaud of Sugar Grove, Ill., a sophomore majoring in theatre
Jinx: Max DeTogne of Arlington Heights, Ill., a sophomore majoring in speech communication

Crew: Student, town, year, major
Musical director: Taylor Martin of Madison, Wis., a senior majoring in music education
Assistant musical director and pianist: Liz Kelly of Goshen, Ind., a junior majoring in music and psychology

“Forever Plaid” was selected as part of this year’s Student Director Series. The College’s theatre faculty invite students to submit a proposal to direct their own theatrical productions and the best are chosen.

North Central College offers majors in theatre or musical theatre and a minor in dance. A full range of acting and dance classes is available, as well as opportunities to direct a full-length production. Students of all majors can participate in musical and nonmusical performances, actor showcases and one-act plays and performances in the College’s four theatre venues. Full-time professors and active professionals who are artist-teachers serve as faculty. For more information about North Central College’s theatre programs visit  

North Central College’s 2010-2011 Sesquicentennial Fine & Performing Arts Season is supported by a generous grant from the Illinois Arts Council. USG Corporation and Navistar, Inc. are underwriting sponsors.

This play is among the many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).