"Plaid Tidings," a Christmas musical is presented Thursday through Sunday by the Center Players Community Theatre. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Madison Square Center for the Arts, 2103 Main Street. Tickets are available for $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors/military.  Starring in the show are, from left, Benton Donahue, Cadley Burns, Reggie  Black and Jackson Kiser.
"Plaid Tidings," a Christmas musical is presented Thursday through Sunday by the Center Players Community Theatre. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Madison Square Center for the Arts, 2103 Main Street. Tickets are available for $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors/military. Starring in the show are, from left, Benton Donahue, Cadley Burns, Reggie Black and Jackson Kiser.
Celebrate a Plaid Christmas this weekend with a heaven-sent quartet.

The song stylings of The Plaids, a 1950s boy band, will be music to the ears of those attending the Center Players Community Theatre production of “Plaid Tidings” Thursday through Sunday at Madison Center for the Arts.

“Come for a lot of laughs and a lot of hijinks,” said director Mandy Hackman. Plus, enjoy more than 30 holiday favorites and other harmonies that this group of highly talented singers will share, she added.

Unfortunately for the Plaids, they died before they could make it big with their singing career. They were killed when they crashed into a bus filled with Catholic schoolgirls who were heading to hear The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

Fortunately, for the quartet, their singing career didn’t end, according to the continuing story.

Sharing their musical gifts on stage in “Plaid Tidings” are Cadley Burns, a music associate at First Baptist Church in Jackson, who portrays the confident but asthmatic leader of the group Frankie; Reggie Black, a senior at Madison Central High School and member of the school’s Madrigals, who plays Sparky, the clown of the group; Benton Donahue, a Madison Central sophomore who is a member of the Reveille show choir, who plays shy Jinx who is prone to nosebleeds; and Jackson Kiser, a sophomore at Holmes Community College, who portrays the glasses-wearing worrier Smudge.

Burns, who is making his stage debut with the Center Players, has played Frankie with other theater groups in “Plaid Tidings” and the original show “Forever Plaid.”  “This show is the hardest I’ve ever done but the most fun,” he said.

Black, Donahue and Kiser have all appeared in Center Players’ shows before, but they all agree that they are having fun in this ensemble.

“Sparky is the personality of the group,” Black said. “Think of the diva-ness of Mariah Carey, mixed with President Ronald Reagan’s heart. He holds the group together.”

Donahue said his character and Black’s are stepbrothers. “I’m the insecure little stepbrother until I sing my solo and then I’m a romantic.”



Kiser, who holds a record for being in five Center Players shows in one season during 2014-15, said he’s enjoying singing with the other three members of the Plaids. “I like the aspect having the barbershop quartet.”

Hackman said the audience will enjoy hearing the four sing in harmony and in their solos. “They are fantastic in four-part harmony.  Each character has time to shine with their songs.”

The songs are a treat, she said. “The Night Before Christmas” is performed in a way that audiences haven’t heard before. There’s a fast-moving tribute to “The Ed Sullivan Show” that lasts a little over three minutes and brings in the Vienna Boys Choir, Groucho Marx, Senor Wences and the Chipmunks.

Providing the music for all the songs is Eli Ragsdale, a junior at Madison Central, who’s playing the piano on stage beside the foursome.

As a holiday gift, the Center Players are encouraging audience members to wear festive holiday shirts, sweaters or other attire for the admission price of $10,  instead of the regular price of $15.

Hackman is advising audience members to be prepared to participate in the musical. “You may become part of the show. You get to laugh, sing, play instruments and even dance along with the Plaids,” she said. 

Shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the arts center at 2103 Main Street.  Regular admission for adults is $15 and $12 for students/seniors/military. Tickets are available when the doors open, 30 minutes before showtimes.