Q&A: ‘Forever Plaid’ cast, director on show, GJ
They are professionals, so it should come as no surprise that just two days after landing in Grand Junction, the four men hired to perform in Broadway at the Avalon’s inaugural production, “Forever Plaid,” already were in sync.
John Adkison, Travis Dixson, Jason Law and Kurtis Simmons flew into the Grand Valley on Sunday, April 22. The men did not know each other before meeting Sunday, but quickly introduced themselves and got to work Monday, April 23, to learn the songs and staging before their first show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4.
Additional shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6.
“Forever Paid” is about a quartet of young men from the 1950s who dreamed of stardom but are tragically killed. They are given a second shot at musical fame after returning from the afterlife.
The actors, along with director Jerry R. Ditter, took a break from their Tuesday, April 24, morning rehearsal to talk about how they ended up in Grand Junction and what they think of “Forever Plaid.”
Melinda Mawdsley: Welcome to Grand Junction. What do you think?
Kurtis Simmons: It’s gorgeous.
John Adkison: Fifteen minutes after we landed it was off to (Colorado National Monument).
Simmons: I love the sun.
Mawdsley: Yeah. It’s been warm here lately.
Travis Dixson: I didn’t pack shorts. None. (Group laughs.)
Mawdsley: What’s the rehearsal schedule like while the men are here?
Jerry Ditter: They landed Sunday, April 22. Monday morning it was three hours for music and three hours in the evening for blocking. We’ll do that for five days this week (Monday to Friday, April 23–27). They’re off Sunday and Monday while we put together the tech. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they’ll be on stage at the Avalon with live music three hours daily, and that’s it.
Mawdsley: That’s intense, but I’m guessing you four are probably used to it.
Simmons: To have a short rehearsal period, honestly, helps us all. It gives us an edge. Our characters aren’t necessarily supposed to know all that’s coming up anyway.
Mawdsley: What do you think of the show?
John Adkison: The music is the star of this show.
Mawdsley: I have to ask. How the heck did four pros end up in Grand Junction?
Jason Law: It’s about the work, really.
Adkison: Three of us know this woman who is friends with (Two Rivers Convention Center/Avalon Theatre administrative support Juli Jacobson) on Facebook. A mutual friend saw her post about casting for this show on Facebook and tagged me in a comment.
Law: It’s really about networking if you are going to do theater professionally.
Mawdsley: Who is everyone playing in the show, and what vocal part will you have?
Adkison: I’m Frankie. Let’s call me a bari-tenor? (Group laughs.)
Dixson: I’m Sparky. I’m a baritone, but I’m stretching up a bit.
Law: I’m Smudge. Bass.
Simmons: I’m Jinx. I’m a tenor.
Ditter: We cast more for voice types. We never heard them deliver a monologue or interviewed them. It was primarily choosing voice parts or range.
Mawdsley: Well, honestly, you four sound pretty good for landing a couple days ago. Break a leg!