Plaid Tidings | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Around about this time of year, as you well know, 'tis the season to be jolly. You know that because visions of sugarplums have been dancing in some of our heads ever since we had faith in Santa, along with the belief that someone might have done a few good things long ago in the Middle East.

Many of us have been in this celebratory frame of mind so long that we nostalgize days when we were able to stay awake long enough to witness the New Year cross our thresholds. Ah, nostalgia. What a great source of delight. What a great source of income for entertainment marketers.

Thus behold Plaid Tidings, in which four young guys emerge from among today's information-satiated youth to portray the good old dopey days of those of us who, bucket-wise, haven't kicked yet. And they do it without insulting women, without carrying loaded weapons and without getting in your face.

And there's something to be said about the silly songs of the 1950s -- when, at least, you could understand their goofy simplicity. Such tunes, such words are decking the hall at the Cabaret at Theater Square.

The premise resembles a fairy tale of sorts ... not that kind of fairy. Stop that. I said "the 1950s" ... because these well-meaning, innocent boys have arrived from heaven to entertain us. Oh sure, they're dead. But for a short spell they're back on earth, serenading us with memory-lane favorites, redecorated for the season. And in fine voices. With wonderful harmony.

Of course, they talk a little, feeling sorry for poor Rudolph, who'd been called lots of names until he showed those animals the light, or trying to get into the mind of Frosty the Snowperson before his head melts. The Plaids skillfully deliver such goods, written by Stuart Ross, who knows a thing or two about being funny.

You say you've seen the same talented guys do the Ed Sullivan shtick before? So? Aren't you, after all, into revisiting your memory? And you do remember, right? But hey, Ross and Brad Ellis have packaged into this new incarnation a couple of brand-new songs. If you think you recognize those, you'd better lay off whatever it is you're imbibing ringside while turning up your hearing aid.

It is, of course, possible that you are a whippersnapper who wants to check out the stuff your parents, or grandparents, think is hot. Hey, it's an education. And cheaper than the exorbitant tuition someone is forking over just so you can have a degree and finance that McMansion you've always wanted, the one with central heating and no chimney in which to stuff a fat man.

As for you elders, you can drop in for a while even after Christmas, wearing that new tie or hanging those new stockings with care or brandishing whatever else the youngsters gave you, eagerly coveting your stash.

Tidings of comfort and joy.


Plaid Tidings continues through Jan. 13. CLO Cabaret at Theater Square, 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. 412-456-6666 or

click to enlarge And a happy New Year: Joe Domencic, Adam Halpin, Marcus Stevens and J.D. Daw in Pittsburgh CLOs Plaid Tidings at the CLO Cabaret. Photo courtesy of Matt Polk
And a happy New Year: Joe Domencic, Adam Halpin, Marcus Stevens and J.D. Daw in Pittsburgh CLOs Plaid Tidings at the CLO Cabaret. Photo courtesy of Matt Polk

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