By Cindy Votruba
LAKE BENTON - To portray a character, sometimes an actor has to change his or her appearance, whether it's growing a beard, wearing
Photo by Cindy Votruba
From left, Tim Wall, John Voit and Alan Riedel perform a song during a rehearsal
of the upcoming production of “Forever Plaid” at the Lake Benton Opera House. The show opens Sept. 30.
a wig, dressing as the opposite sex or shaving off facial hair. And in some cases, such as the upcoming production of "Forever Plaid" at the Lake Benton
Opera House, the change can be pretty dramatic.
"Forever Plaid" will run at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 2 and 7-9 and 2 p.m. Oct. 3, 9 and 10. The show features Alan Riedel, John Voit, Tim Wall and Mark Wilmes as clean-cut guys who loved to sing. Becoming the group Forever Plaid, the guys were on their way to their first big show when they were killed in a car crash by a busload of catholic teens on their way to see the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.
So to have that fresh-faced look, Voit, Wilmes and Wall shaved off their facial hair, something their family has been used to for years. They're also got flattops for the show.
When Voit's daughter elizabeth saw her dad without his usual goatee, she was a little unsure, Voit said.
"She kind of backed away," Voit said.
"It's the third time John's had to shave his goatee and all for Opera House productions," Wall said.
Wilmes said it's the first time in more than 30 years that he's shaved his facial hair for a show.
"My daughter gasped the first time she saw it," Wilmes said.
The characters have aged in the show, but there were a few liberties taken with the script, Wall said.
There's also very little dialogue in the show, and the men have to learn more than 20 songs, which are performed in four-part harmony.
"None of us thought they'd be as difficult as they were," Wall said.
Wall said the book has bass, baritone, tenor and second tenor parts.
"There's tight harmonies, there's times we're
singing a fifth, top to bottom," Wall said
"It's difficult, some of the parts are easier to pick out," Wilmes said. "But I don't want to be Alan or John."
Wall said there are only three songs in the repertoire that have a bass part for Riedel.
"There are some songs I literally have three notes," Riedel said.
Riedel and Wall are used to singing in quartets and the four of them have performed in opera House productions before. But even they admit the songs
have been a challenge to learn.
"You have to have a pretty broad range to do these," Voit said.
"Tim is higher than me on some parts," Wilmes said.