Show History



Stuart Ross wrote Forever Plaid as an homage to the close-harmony "guy groups" of the 1950s, like The Four Aces and The Four Freshmen. Ross also included four-part arrangements of famous solo songs from the 50s, such as "Chain Gang," "Sixteen Tons" and an entire medley dedicated to songs by Perry Como. He got the idea to kill his characters from a cabaret in Rochester, and the fact that the show was running in repertory with Nunsense generated the plot point of the busload of Catholic girls as a cause of death. When the musical was in its initial stages, however, producers urged him not to make the Plaids dead... although Ross brought back the gimmick when the show moved to New York.

Ross never intended for the show to be a nostalgic jukebox revue. Instead, he created the Plaids – a representation of the clean-cut mentality of the 50s – to show what would happen if people of that sensibility came into a modern-day world. He purposefully fleshed out each of the four Plaids to give the individual characters a personality and, ultimately, demonstrate to them what a wonderful life they had without stardom.


Forever Plaid, an Off-Broadway musical revue written by Stuart Ross, started its creative engagements at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, the American Stage Company and the Wisdom Bridge Theatre. It opened May 20, 1990, at Steve McGraw's on the Upper West Side. The original cast included Jason Graae, Stan Chandler, David Engel and Guy Stroman. The show played for more than four years in that cabaret theatre. Within two years of its New York run, various Forever Plaid companies sprung up, starting in San Diego and expanding from Boston to South Africa. These companies became as popular as the original production, with some running for even longer than the group in New York.

Cultural Influence

  • A filmed version of the musical was released in 2009 as a celebration of the show's twenty-year anniversary. Stuart Ross returned to direct, as did original Plaids, Stan Chandler and David Engel. David Hyde Pierce guest-starred as the narrator.


  • The popularity of Forever Plaid gave rise to the production of two sequels. The Pasadena Playhouse premiered one of those sequels, Plaid Tidings, a holiday version of the original show with modified songs and story.