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West Branch to present ‘Forever Plaid’

November 24, 2013
Submitted material , Salem News

BELOIT- The West Branch theater class will present the Broadway musical "Forever Plaid" Thanksgiving weekend in the middle school cafeteria. Showtimes include 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 and 30 and 3 p.m. Dec. 1. Guests will be served appetizers and desserts at intermission as well as other refreshments before the show begins.

All seats are reserved and priced at $12 for adults and $10 for studentsand senior citizens. Tickets will be available at the high school during the school day or by calling the box office at 330-938-4442. Leave a message and someone in charge of the box office will return the call. All patrons are encouraged to come to the school and pick out their own seats as soon as possible because seats are selling fast due to the popularity of the show.

New to the theater world in 1988, "Forever Plaid" is really a nostalgic trip back to the 1950's. When most of us think of the 1950's we think of Rock 'n' Roll, greasers, hot rods, Elvis, D.A. haircuts and teenage rebellion. Nevertheless, there was a "flipside" to this era - the side of harmony, innocence and the sincerity of dreams that has been lost in the shuffle of progress. It was a time when most parents and kids listened and danced to the same music; when families partook of the ritual of gathering in front of the TV to watch their favorite variety shows like the Ed Sullivan show or the Perry Como Show.

Article Photos

The West Branch theater class will present the Broadway musical “Forever Plaid” Thanksgiving weekend in the middle school cafeteria. Showtimes include 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 and 30 and 3 p.m. Dec. 1. From left, cast members Jake Koneval, Parker Zamarelli, Colby Briceland, Cooper Briceland (Photo courtesy of Dunlap Photography)

The story line of the show involves four guys (Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie) who loved to sing. They meet in high school and discover a shared affection for music and entertaining. They get together and dream of becoming like their idols-The Four Aces, The Four Lads, The Four Freshmen, The Hi-Lo's and The Crew Cuts. They rehearse in the basement of Smudge's family's plumbing supply company where they become Forever Plaid-a name that connotes the continuation of traditional values, of family, home and harmony.

En route to pick up their custom-made Plaid Tuxedoes, the group is killed instantly in a crash with a school bus filled with eager Catholic teens on their way to witness the Beatles make their US television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show and, miraculously escaped uninjured.

It is at that moment when their careers and lives ended, that the story of Forever Plaid begins.

Starring in the cast are four young men that are not new to the world of theater. Senior Colby Briceland, son of Denny and Kari Briceland, will portray the part of Sparky who is truly the comedian of the cast. Senior Cooper Briceland, also son of Denny and Kari Briceland will portray the part of Smudge, who is constantly complaining of stomach ulcers but carries the richness of the quartet with his deep baritone voice. Parker Zamarelli, son of John and Jennifer Zamarelli, a senior at West Branch, will portray the part of Frankie, the leader and more serious member of the group until he bursts out a hilarious version of the popular Spanish tune "Matilda." Rounding out the cast is sophomore Jake Koneval, son of Steve and Christine Koneval, portraying the part of Jinx, a soaring tenor who gets so nervous he causes himself to get nosebleeds. The show is truly a fun-filled family experience that is sure to please any audience.

Theater class

West Branch High School offers a class to students interested in the art of theater. Fifty students have chosen to participate in the class that meets daily to help introduce the students to all aspects of theater. Over the years, West Branch High School has put on quality plays and musicals, so theater experience is not new to the students.

Participating in either a fall or a winter play, or the annual spring musical, were the only avenues students could choose to experience the joy and educational value of being on stage. As in other high schools, West Branch students here are offered a large variety of extracurricular activities in which to participate. Some of these include various boys' and girls' sports, band, show choir, academic clubs and teams, foreign language clubs, student council and many others. There are so many activities that they almost compete for membership. What normally happens is that many of the same students excel in all of them. Offering this class has enabled some of these over extended students to be able to take this class during the school day and still participate in other activities after school.

The class has been designed to work hand in hand with the production of the plays and musicals to be presented throughout the school year. Over the years, educators have discovered that students excel when they are put into a situation that can be described as a "hands on" learning experience. Theater applications are structured in this manner. Students learn by actually participating in a learning experience and not just watching or reading about it. Not all of the class members are actors and singers, but each has their own responsibility to make the shows a true success.

Members of the class help the director, John Zamarelli, to plan the school plays by completing tasks such as choosing the show, organizing the auditioning process, choosing the cast of the shows, scheduling rehearsals to work around other events, creating the rehearsal schedule, blocking the scenes for the actors, helping to create characterization for the actors and creating choreography for chorus numbers and other musical selections.

The students are also responsible for advertising and promoting the show. They are asked to design posters, print flyers and create the printed program.

The theater class is also involved in the entire behind the scenes work for the shows. The students are responsible for lighting, costumes, make-up, hair design and the financial aspects of the shows.

This year the students at West branch High School will present four theatrical productions, including "Jekyll & Hyde" staged in late October, the current "Forever Plaid," "The Wizard of Oz" in February and the popular Broadway musical Disney's "Tarzan" in April.



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