A Great Review of THE ADDAMS FAMILY from Joel Taylor of The Column by John Garcia


Joel Taylor of The Column by John Garcia has given THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Plaza Theatre Company a solid recommendation. The show is playing thru November 14th and tickets are going fast! Congratulations to our exceptional cast and crew on a fine review. Read on for a great review then call 817-202-0600 to make your reservation.


Reviewed by Joel Taylor, Associate Critic for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

Plaza Theatre Company continues to produce shows during the Halloween season that have a playful sense of the macabre and absurd. In 2014, during the Halloween season, Plaza performed LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, which received a COLUMN Award nomination for Best Musical last season. For the 2015 Halloween season, Plaza chose to share the musical comedy THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Those that remember the original comic strip, the television series, or the more recent feature films based on the same characters as well as those that appreciate a sense of the absurd, irony and humorous macabre will enjoy this family friendly show.

TAF-familyEvery year, around Halloween, it has become increasingly common to see films and shows that focus on slash and slice and rely heavily on an abundance of blood, guts and gore, improper use of a chainsaw, axe, viral strain and long pointed metal fingernails. Unlike the slash and slice films and shows that are especially common around Halloween, The production of Addams Family uses satire and the macabre to bring humor to expected social expectations.

Charles Addams, created the fictional Addams Family, as an unrelated group of 150 single panel cartoons that made their debut in 1938 in the magazine, The New Yorker. The core of the Addams family has traditionally included Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley Cousin It and Thing. The Addams Family was created to be a satirical inversion of what was perceived to be the ideal American family. They are an eccentric American family that delight in the macabre and are unaware, or simply do not care, that other people find them bizarre or occasionally frightening

Although most of the humor comes from the fact that the family shares odd interests such as collecting torture devices, practice sword play throughout the house, detests bright colors, enjoys flowers without the actual flower petals, and wanting to go on the romantic vacation of a lifetime through the sewers of Paris, the family is not typically evil. Instead, they are close family that rely on the Addams Family values for keeping them together. Morticia is an exemplary mother. She and Gomez remain passionate toward each other. By merely speaking a few words of French, any French words will do, Morticia can provoke Gomez into kissing her arms. Both parents are supportive towards each other and their children. The family is friendly, hospitable and charitable to visitors, despite the visitor’s horror of the Addams lifestyle.

TAF-Wednesday and PugsleyThe Addams Family television series ran from September 1964-April 1966 and starred John Astin as Gomez, Carolyn Jones as Morticia, Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester, Ted Cassidy as Lurch. Lisa Loring as Wednesday, Ken Weatherwax as Pugsley, Blossom Rock as Grandma, Felix Silla as Cousin It, and Ted Cassidy’s hand as Thing.

Subsequently, the Addams Family characters and story lines were included in episodes of SCOOBY DOO, the animated television series and more recent feature films such as The Addams Family (1991) that starred Angelica Houston as Morticia, Raul Julia as Gomez, Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester, Christina Ricci as Wednesday, Jimmy Workman as Pugsley, Judith Martin as Grandma, Carel Struycken as Lurch, John Franklin as Cousin It, and Chrisopher Hart’s hand as Thing.

This was followed by The Addams Family Values in 1993 and starred most of the same actors as the 1991 film, with the following changes; Joan Cusack played the Black Widow, Carol Kane as Grandma, and included cameo roles by David Hype Pierce, Peter Graves and Nathan Lane, who went on to play Gomez in the stage version of The Addams Family musical,.

Fester-ancestorsPlaza Theatre Company performs plays in the round. Which means the performance takes place in front of an audience that literally surrounds the actors on stage. This necessitates creative use of space and action for moveable set pieces, props, cast members and dancers. Using a limited space for a large production can be a challenge. However, the production staff at Plaza Theatre, has a history of using this space to maximum benefit to bring to make each production feel intimate. Despite a few instances when during a dance number including all of the ancestors, Gomez (Aaron Lett) had to momentarily hesitate as he navigated between dancers to traverse to the other side of the stage as well as a scene that took place in the dark, when Gomez (Lett) and Mal (Jay Lewis) almost ended up in the lap of an audience member, the space is well used for maximum enjoyment.

During the preshow, songs with a Halloween theme are played while the audience is seated. They chose a wide range of Halloween related songs from the 1950’s to current material for use in the pre-show music. Throughout the performance, the musical score is well performed by the cast and works well with the choreography of Tabitha Barrus. She uses the entire performing space for well-designed and executed dance numbers by all of the actors throughout the production. Including the many dance numbers that the ancestors perform throughout the show. In one scene Morticia (Caitlan Leblo) dances a subdued version of the Tango with Gomez (Lett). During the dance, Morticia and Gomez use the entire stage space moving between the ancestors also dancing on stage during the scene.

TAF-grandma and pugsleyCostume Design by Tina Barrus who has an armful of COLUMN Awards for her work, is once again a major highlight of the production. The attention to detail for the costuming is apparent throughout the show. Morticia wears a form fitting, but not too sexy, floor length black dress that hugs her ankles, covers her feet and extends on to the floor giving the impression of tentacles. Gomez is wearing the expected pin stripe, tailored double breasted suit that allows movement to dance with Morticia, as well as practice fencing in a scene with Lurch. Wednesday is also appropriately wearing the basic black dress with white trim, reminiscent of the costume worn by Wednesday in the earlier Addams Family films. An exception to the black and white worn by Wednesday, are the few scenes in which she is wearing yellow that matches the yellow also worn in the same scene by Alice (Susan Metzinger). Pugsley wears short pants and a shirt with red and white horizontal lines, Grandma wears a costume that is shades of grey and is designed to appear as if it is made of rags. Grandma’s unkempt grey hair work well with the costume design. Lurch wears a basic black suit, white shirt and tie. In order to give Lurch (Josh Leblo) the physical height that is expected of the character of Lurch, he wears black platform shoes. Mal Benieke (Lewis) wears a suit and tie that reminds me of the style of suits that I have seen businessmen wear in the Midwest region. The ancestors are in various historically period styles that range from cave man to a contemporary nurse and jilted lover in her bridal gown. With the exception of the caveman, the costumes for the ancestors are in the same off white shades that matches the make-up worn by the actors. G. Aaron Siler as Uncle Fester’s costume is a floor length, grey jacket that looks contemporary and antique at the same time. His costume also includes the light bulbs that light up when Fester places one end in his mouth.

In the past few years I have seen several productions of The Addams Family musical around the area. Rarely, have I seen in previous productions such attention to detail in the costume design as I observed in the outstanding work by Ms. Barrus in Plaza’s production.

TAF-meet bienekesDuring the pre-show and opening scene, four headstones are set around the stage to represent a graveyard. In one corner is what appears to be a large iron gate that leads to the family crypt, from which the ancestors enter early in the show and ultimately are allowed to return. This space is also used in the second act to move on and off stage a large four poster bed that also includes an oversize spider, on which Alice (Metzinger) and Mal (Lewis) use when discussing the consequences of the game during the dinner in the first act. That space is also used as an entrance and exit by Grandma when she pulls her wagon of potions onstage for a scene with Pugsley. In another corner, the entrance and exit area is covered by a wall to wall and ceiling floor length red drape with gold fringe and tassels. Without spoiling a scene, the drapery and tassels are effectively used in a few scenes as sight gags.

TAF-Wednesday Lucas and AncestorsThe actors that make up the characters of the ancestors range in age from early teens to their mid-twenties. With the exception of the cave man ancestor, none of the male ancestors had facial hair or wrinkles. This gives almost all of the ancestors the appearance of eternal youth. The actors playing the ancestors moved well with the often complicated dance patterns created by Choreographer Tabitha Barrus. During the performance, the ancestors assist uncle Fester and help with staging elements in the park scene in which Lucas (played in the performance reviewed by Shreve) and Wednesday are making up from a disagreement and enter into a contest to determine which one is crazier than the other.

Grandma, played by Keli Price, is fun to watch when she is on stage. Even when she has no lines in a scene, she is consistently the cantankerous old lady in all characteristics. Price, steps around the stage as would someone in advanced years, holds and contorts her hands as if arthritis is a major health issue. She brings out a crackling sound in her voice that gives the impression that she really is a spry 104 year old eccentric woman that enjoys her potions and hitting on 90 year old men as in the dinner scene. When she takes command of a scene, she dances sings and quips about hitting on young 90 year old men.

TAF-gomez-mortPugsley Addams, played by Henry Cawood, is the younger brother of Wednesday. Theirs is a relationship in which the younger sibling relishes being tortured by his older sister. Cawood plays this role with such enthusiasm that sometimes the character of Pugsley comes across as honest and endearing in an Addams sort of way. Such as the scene when he is stealing a potion from Grandma and the final scene when Gomez is telling Pugsley how proud he is of him. Though, there are also times when the character’s action comes across as forced, which loses the humor and sincerity. Such as an early scene when Wednesday has Pugsley on a rack and causing Pugsley to stretch out, seemingly in pain, when she pulls a lever. In that scene, Cawood anticipates each pull of the lever and overreacts out of synch with the timing of the apparatus. During the dinner scene, Pugsley sneaks away from the table in order to do a prank. During this scene he over-acts in a way that detracts from the full comedy of the scene.

Lurch played by Josh Leblo, has moments when his interpretation of Lurch works very well and at times is too stoic. When he, is on stage as Lurch, he walks in the Lurch manner that is slow and very methodically deliberate. The character of Lurch is stereotypically accepted as a character that is slightly above a zombie. Through most of the production, Mr. Leblo has a facial expression that is void of any emotion or movement, often at the expense of the full effect of the humor in a situation. Such as when he ushers the Beineke’s into the Addams home. In the scene he interacts with the Beinekes without the non-verbal communication that would normally be shown through the eyes, tilt of the head, or any non-verbal action that would convey even ironic communication. His most successful scenes are when he, as Lurch, is slowly and methodically clearing the stage during intermission. The audience applauded and cheered as this scene during intermission was taking place.

Wednesday Addams is portrayed by Meredith Stowe, she is the eldest child of Gomez and Morticia. Stowe plays Wednesday as a young lady that is conflicted with the desire to continue to fit in with her family and her own Family’s peculiar values and the desire to live a life with her new love who is a normal boy. Stowe handles well, the intricacies of playing a character in her late teens to early 20’s that is trying to fit in two different worlds. During a scene in which Wednesday is pressuring her father to do something for her, in this case it is keeping a secret from her mother, she uses the line that every daughter has used to a parent, “if you love me you will…” said with a pouty look that only a daughter can use so effectively. Stowe embodies the daughter so well, that an adult couple seated in front of me, were audibly commenting on the bad behavior shown by Wednesday. Stowe is a joy to watch as Wednesday as a real girl in real conflicting situations. The audience can clearly see the emotions at play in Stowe’s genuine facial gestures and body language.

Mal Beineke, played by Jay Lewis, who is Lucas’s father. Lewis, shows believable emotion and actions as the father and husband that, over time has spent less time with his wife and son and instead focused so much more with his job. During a scene in the second act, in which Alice and Mal are discussing the revelations that happened during dinner, Lewis seems very real as Mal when he is confused as Alice tells him how their relationship has changed over time because he has not been involved with his own family.

Susan Metzinger portrays Alice Beineke (Mal’s wife and Lucas’s mother). Metzinger is a hoot to observe. Metzinger, embraces the emotionally conflicted personality of Alice, a wife, and mother that is always trying to play peacemaker, trying not to make waves and internalizes conflict and then externalizes the anxiety through rhyming. In each scene, she consistently shows, through facial expressions, tone and physicality, the emotion and conflict that the character is feeling at that moment. Such, as when arriving at the Addams home, seeing Wednesday wearing the color yellow, she comes to Wednesday’s defense when it is realized that they are both wearing yellow. Demonstrating that she is good with physical comedy as well as with the comedic timing of the lines she delivers, Metzinger is a comedic riot during the dinner scene where she literally climbs on the table and performs.

The role of Lucas Beineke is double cast. Brandon Shreve played the role of Lucas for the performance reviewed. Physically, Shreve is smaller than Wednesday, which adds to the physical humor of the show. Shreve plays Lucas as a less forceful character that allows Wednesday to take the lead in most of their interactions. During a scene in which Lucas tries to connect with Pugsley by using contemporary slang and attempts a high five, Shreve believably comes across as awkward, geeky and sincere. Later in the show, Shreve becomes much more energized and alive in the scene with Wednesday in the park as they compete with each other to see which one is crazier than the other.

Uncle Fester, played by G. Aaron Siler, is the very eccentric brother to Gomez. Siler portrays the role brilliantly. Directing a show while also performing in the show is challenging and not often successful. Siler does both well. He clearly has delicious fun as Uncle Fester. In each scene that he is on stage, the audience sees the facial twitches and shrugs, such as seen in the opening number. In this production, Siler becomes is the Uncle Fester that has been enjoyed by audiences since the early 1960’s. Siler embodies Fester with a childish joy that is contagious. It is also delightful fun to see Siler place a light bulb in his mouth and it lights up…just as it did on the original stage version, television shows and feature films.

Caitlan Leblo is the elegant Morticia Addams. Morticia is the strong willed matriarch of the Addams Family. The character, played notably in the TV and film versions by Carolyn Jones and Angelica Houston, respectively, is stern with her children, oozes sensuality with Gomez and the primary influencer of all decisions that involve her family. One of the strongest characteristics from Ms. Leblos’s performance is her ability to deliver lines, scolding, praises and almost every conversation with an almost completely stoic appearance. I said almost, because the stoic appearance was usually followed by a slight raise of an eyebrow, or tilt of the head, or a unique tone in her voice. Caitlan Leblo is fantastic as Morticia. In fact, she portrays the character so much better than most that I have seen over the past few years. She does an excellent job with the physicality of Morticia, whether walking, crossing her arms in the way that Morticia always did and has the stoic sometime unexpressive look that Morticia in the films usually had. Though, lacking is the slight twitch of the eyebrow, tilt of the head or body posture that emphasizes the irony of a situation.

In the role originated by Nathan Lane in the Broadway version is J. Aaron Lett . This is the first production in which I have seen Mr. Lett and I hope it is not the last. Gomez, the patriarch of the Addams family is a difficult role to not only play but to play it well. The Addams lineage and heritage comes from Spain. Traditionally, the role of Gomez is played with a Spanish accent. A challenge is keeping the accent consistent. Lett succeeds in this challenge. This talented actor successfully portrays Gomez and completely understands the comedic timing, delivery the role demands. Lett is very energetic and is able to understand as he applies the dry humor, allowing the comedy to be funny and not try to force it to become over the top. Lett demonstrates a clear understanding of the role and character of Gomez consistently throughout the show. Beginning with the opening song, Lett takes charge of the show with his boundless energy and connection with other characters on stage. During scenes, alternately with Wednesday and Morticia, in which Wednesday wants her father to keep a secret and Morticia demands that no secrets be kept, through, his line delivery, and physicality, such as allowing the frustration of the situation to be visible through his face and physicality, Lett is consistently brilliant.

I grew up watching the television series in the early 1960’s as well as the animated series and later the feature films. Over the years watching the shows on television, film and on stage, I have a developed a sense of how to expect the characters to act and display the characteristics that have made the Addams Family the loveable, creepy, spooky, and kooky family that many have grown up with. I have seen the characters played by talented and professional actors as well as students in high school. Each actor over the years has given their unique flavor and style to the characters being played. Sometimes, the interpretation works so well that I felt like a little kid again watching the television series after school. Or, as an adult, giggling and guffawing at the wit and delivery of the actors in the feature films.

Sometimes the interpretation of the character by the actor does not have the maximum desired impact. With a few exceptions, the actors in this production consistently presented characters that resonate with the audience. If you, like me, grew up experiencing the Addams Family from the 1960;s to the present, you will get many of the references to the lines, situations, and the tongue-in-cheek humor. You will appreciate the idiosyncrasies of the characters and nod your head in appreciation to the wit and humor. If you were not fortunate to have had the Addams Family as a part of your life experience before now, you will still enjoy the show for the jovial wit, well timed delivery of lines, droll sense of humor, or like the elderly couple sitting in front of me, have comments when one spouse does or says something that will invariably land the person committing the error in hot water that even an Addams would not enjoy.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They’re all together ooky, The Addams Family.

Their house is a museum When people come to see ’em They really are a scream (pronounced Scree um) The Addams Family.

A Sensational Review of SHE LOVES ME by Angela Newby of The Column by John Garcia

She Loves Me Logo

We couldn’t be more thrilled by the positive words about SHE LOVES ME by Ms. Newby of The Column by John Garcia. We agree that it’s a delightful romantic comedy with a rich, exquisite musical score. Dennis Yslas and his phenomenal cast and crew have delivered a powerhouse of a show. SHE LOVES ME plays thru September 5th every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Read on for a sensational review review and then be sure to reserve by calling 817-202-0600 or visiting www.plaza-theatre.com


SHE LOVES ME at Plaza Theatre Company
Angela Newby, Associate Theatre Critic for The Column by John Garcia

She Loves Me is the musical romantic comedy that lends one to understand the meaning of being secretly in love with someone else. As two anonymously write love letters to one another, they don’t realize that they actually know each other in real life, and despise one another. Will they fall in love, or miss out?

The musical is the third adaptation of the play Parfumerie by playwrite Miklos Laszlo. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1963 and subsequently had productions in the West End in 1964. It would surface in 1998 as the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan feature You’ve Got Mail. The musical will also be receiving another revival on Broadway for next season.

Director Dennis Yslas has outdone himself. This show was incredible and I was in awe as I watched all the moving parts come together to produce one of the best shows I have seen all year.

Music Director Cherie Dee Mega commanded the music. Mega highlighted the talent of the operatic cast and used them in ways that had the audience on the edge of their seats awaiting the next score. Each and every musical number was better than the one before it, and while it is easy to start strong, this was one musical that ended stronger than it started.

Choreographer Joshua Sherman did an astounding job with the cast to highlight each of the musical numbers. The choreography only enhanced the show and allowed for the mood to be heightened at every turn. In “Twelve Days to Christmas” the stage held every cast member who worked seamlessly with one another to demonstrate one of the most beautifully choreographed songs in the whole show.

Tina Barrus’ costume design was brilliantly done. The men of the cast were dressed in full suits that enhanced each of their body types and characters personalities. The three customers were nicely dressed in simple black dresses that were accessorized with hats, gloves, and furs. Ritter and Balash were wearing form-fitting flare dresses that were easy to move in and showed the aspects of their characters perfectly.

Set design by JaceSon P. Barrus was the most favorite set that I have ever seen. The attention to detail and use of the space showed his talent. Each and every scene was carefully designed to move flawlessly together in the short periods of time between the scenes. Barrus’s true talent though was shown in the revolving door on the back stage that moves the audience to the inside of the perfumery and outside. Further, the moving display cases were so interwoven within the show that they enhanced every element within the performance.

G. Aaron Siler with light and sound design was meticulously planned and executed. The soft lights with red undertones enriched the love story that unfolded on stage. The carefully selected blue lights during scene changes only made one anticipate what would come next. The use of full spotlights and a dark room highlighted solos and drew the attention exactly where it needed to be. Sound was perfectly matched with the actors’ vocals and never overpowered. Timing was never an issue and the sounds only enhanced the performance.

Property design by Soni Barrus was the epitome of attention to detail. Each and every prop was perfectly selected to show the details of the musical. I loved the antique perfume bottles and powder boxes in the display cases that showed the expensive nature of the perfumery.

G. Aaron Siler, as Ladislav Sipos, did a superior job as one of the clerks of the perfumery. Through hurried movements, nervous gestures, and vocal inflection, Siler portrayed the unease of the love affairs amongst his fellow employees. Siler used a calm, fatherly tone to help George Norwak to take a risk. His rich voice was displayed well in “Perspective” and Siler let his eyes shine with understanding of what love really is.

Arpad Laszlo, the delivery boy played by Drew Sifford was the comedic relief to the musical. Sifford was a joy to watch as he skipped and moved quickly through the set to his next location. In “Try Me” Sifford’s high energy and strong voice fully portrayed the confidence that Arpad had in himself to deserve a promotion in the perfumery. Sifford’s characterization went beyond vocals to his facial expressions, in particular his hand gestures. He was having fun on stage and it showed through his awesome performance.

Paulie Cocke’s portrayal of Ilona Ritter was remarkable. Her deep, rich, and powerful voice was highlighted in her musical number, “I Resolve”. Cocke had huge facial expressions but continued to contort her lips to show either her joy or disgust with a fellow employee. She excelled in this role with eyes that shined with the joy and glamour of a woman in love as well as scorned.

Steven Kodaly played by Joshua Sherman was the antagonist of the employees in the perfumery. His arrogant nature was perfectly displayed by Sherman’s use of lifting his chin, scowls to the rest of the characters, and tone. Sherman’s vocals are highlighted in “Grand Knowing You” through his deep and passionate plea for what is next in his characters life.

Matt Victory was George Nowak, a young man who was unsure of the woman he was in love with. Through Victory’s self-assured stance he proved his dominance on stage. His widened eyes, smile that went up to his eyes, and a shake of his head to show joy was only the start of his amazing facial expressions. Victory really shined through his inflection and powerful voice in “She Loves Me” and was only enhanced with his charming smile.

Mr. Maraczek performed by Jay A. Cornils is the pushy manager of the perfumery. Cornils nailed the haughty air of Maraczek through his arrogant tone and judgmental facial expressions. In “Days Gone By”, Cornils sang from the depth of his soul to capture the moment in the musical. Cornils becomes Maraczek and there is no denying that this shrewd manager was perfectly cast.

Meredith Browning performance as Amalia Balash was simply outstanding. Her mannerisms are warm and heartfelt when dealing with the customers, and completely opposite with Nowak. She had the presence of the girl next door, but the spitfire energy of a prideful woman. Through her simple smiles, doe eyes, and gentle touches, Browning completely encompasses the mixed up feelings of Balash. Browning’s vocal achievement reigns in “Dear Friend” and “Vanilla Ice Cream”, each one expressive and delightful.

The musical was rounded out by a top notch ensemble. Stormy Witter, Elizabeth Shelton, Haley Nettleton, Jake Kelly Harris, and Noah Foster were superb in their roles. Their vocal talented shone in both “Sounds While Selling” and Twelve Days to Christmas”. Each had their own unique style that only enriched the musical.

Plaza Theatre Company has outdone themselves with She Loves Me. With an amazing set of actors, coupled with the talented artistic staff, this performance will be hard to top. Come and enjoy this musical that will remind you what falling in love is like!

Audition Notice: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at Plaza Theatre Company


Audition Notice:

Auditions are: August 17th and August 18th, 2015

Directed by G. Aaron Siler
Stage Management by Lindsay Hardisty
Music Direction by Doug Henry
Choreography by Tabitha Barrus

Monday Aug. 17 & Tuesday Aug. 18, 2015
7pm – 9pm at the Plaza Academy Studio
211 S. Mill St, Cleburne, TX
Auditions are by appointment only

Click here to make an audition appointment!

Auditioners will be asked to come prepared to sing 32 bars of music, preferably from a musical. An accompanist will be provided. Auditioners should also be prepared to read cold from the script at the audition. Each auditioner should plan to spend about five to ten minutes auditioning for the Directors.

A call back audition will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22nd starting at 9am and may last for up to four hours. Those auditioners who the Directors wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition.

Rehearsals will commence Monday, Aug. 24 and take place usually on Mon. – Wed. evenings and Saturday mornings depending on performer schedules. No Sunday rehearsals or performances. Performers are only called to rehearsal if needed.

The production will play on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons opening on Friday, October 9th and playing through Saturday, November 14th.

Morticia and Gomez Addams want to continue living amongst death, pain and suffering the way they always have. But then there is a change in plans. Their eldest child, Wednesday, has fallen in love with a strange boy – who is NORMAL. When the normal family is invited to dinner, craziness ensues. A Broadway hit based on the classic TV show.


* Please note that the age ranges on the characters are for guidance only. Actors who play older or younger will be considered for characters outside their age range based on ability.

Gomez Addams: Male, age 40-59. A man in his prime, of Spanish descent with a wild Iberian passion. Takes great pride in being an Addams and revels in all that means. Struggles with having to keep his daughter’s secret from his wife, whom he adores more than death. Requires great comedic timing and baritone to high G.

Morticia Addams: Female, age 35-59. Attractive, in shape, holds the balance of power in the family; often seems like the only emotionally mature member of the clan. Calls for a sexy, dry wit. Feels her husband is hiding something from her and will use any tactic to lure the secret out. Must be a strong dancer/mover with with lower mature womanly sound (alto/mezzo soprano).

Uncle Fester: Male, age 30-59. Narrator of the piece, has a hugely energetic, joyous childlike presence – totally incorrigible. A vaudevillian-style comedian with tenor vocals, spoken parts and a couple of high notes.

Wednesday Adams: Female, appears 18-19. Strikingly similar to Morticia but is experiencing a bit of a personality crisis. Experiences the youthful drama that comes with first love–Lucas can actually put a smile on her face. Low belt with high E possible.

Grandmama: Female, appears age 102, but a feisty 102. – fun, adorably dangerous, but don’t mess with grandma. Surprisingly resourceful and sprightly. Comedic actress with strong character vocals.

Pugsley Addams: Male, age 12ish. But can be played by older actor – charming, funny, husky boy who loves being tortured by his sister. He wants to ensure he won’t lose his sister to her new boyfriend so he takes matters into his own hands. Lower child’s range or woman’s mid-range.

Lurch: Male, age 35 and up. A very tall male character, the Addams butler who knows all. He speaks in moans and groans (some tinged with irony or exasperation) without becoming a cartoon version of himself. His movement is always very slow. Character actor with a low bass vocals to Eb.

Colonel Mal Beinecke: Male, age 45-50, all ethnicities – father to Lucas. A stuffy military man, a man who must be obeyed, exasperated with his rhyming wife. At one time was a follower of The Grateful Dead but lost that side of himself. Always looking out for his family. Midrange baritenor.

Alice Beinecke: Female, age 40-45. Mother to Lucas. Quirky, devoted to her family, so she puts aside her own desires. At the Addams Family dinner party, drinks a potion that causes her to let her hair down and speak her mind. Legit voice up to G#.

Lucas Beinecke: Male, 19. Fell in love with Wendy and plans to marry her. A writer, classic codependent, feels good when everybody’s happy. Experiences the pain and drama of young love and struggles with the differences between his family and the Addamses. Contemporary pop tenor vocals.

The Ancestors: Male and female ensemble singer/dancers of all types who are smart performers and have a fun, quirky sensibility.

Casting Announcement: POLLYANNA at Plaza Theatre Company


Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the official cast list for its upcoming production of POLLYANNA, a play version of the famous book by Eleanor H. Porter, which will play at PlazaCo from September 11th thru October 3rd. The show will be under the direction of Taffy Geisel with stage management by Nathan Glenn. Plaza producers wish to thank all who auditioned for the show.

The Cast of POLLANNA is: (double cast where noted)

Pollyanna Whittier – Emmie Vaughn, Kylie Scarborough
Aunt Polly – Katherine Anthony
Nancy – Christine Atwell
Mrs. Durgin – Priscilla Nix
Loretta – Lauren Morgan
Mrs. Snow – Katy Holt Wood
Millie Snow – Tori Beth Pilcher
Mrs. McCleary – Meagan Avery Sellers, Noelle Mitchell
Mrs. Malden – Ruth Ann Warwick
Mrs. Benton – Julia Ekpo
Mrs. Jack Payson – Gwen Swinehart
Emily Payson – Esther Ekpo
Mrs. Winkle – Helene Cottongame
Jimmy Bean – Henry Cawood
Mr. John Pendleton – Jay Cornils
Dr. Thomas Chilton – Jason Philip Cole
Pastor Malden – Kyle Scarborough, Gary Payne
Old Tom – JaceSon Barrus
Mr. Gilbert – Cody Vernon

Casting News: The official Cast List for LITTLE WOMEN at Plaza Theatre Company

little women broadway
Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the official cast list for its upcoming production of LITTLE WOMEN, a musical version of the Louisa May Alcott books, which will play at PlazaCo from July 2nd thru August 2st. The show will be under the direction of G. Aaron Siler with stage management by Cessany Ford, musical direction by Doug Henry and choreography by Tabitha Barrus. Plaza producers wish to thank all who auditioned for the show.

Little Women Cast List

Jo March – Kelly Nickell

Meg March – Haley Boswell

Beth March – Kiley Nicole Pearson

Amy March – Joanna Philips

Marmee – Kathy Lemons

Professor Bhaer – Martin Guerra

Laurie – Jordan Crites

Aunt March / Mrs. Kirk – Christia Caudle

Mr. Lawrence – Burl Proctor

Mr. Brooke – Jake Kelly Harris

Click here for more information about the show or to buy tickets.

Audition Notice: SHE LOVES ME at Plaza Theatre Company

She Loves Me Logo

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce open auditions for its upcoming production of SHE LOVES ME on Monday June 8th and Tuesday June 9th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

Auditions are: June 8th OR June 9th

Directed by Dennis Yslas
Stage Management by Cessany Ford
Music Direction by Cheri Mega
Choreography by Joshua Sherman

Monday June 8th OR Tuesday June 9th
7pm – 9pm at the Plaza Academy Studio
211 S. Mill St, Cleburne, TX
Auditions are by appointment only

Click here to make an audition appointment!

Auditioners will be asked to come prepared to sing 32 bars of music, preferably from a musical. An accompanist will be provided. Auditioners should also be prepared to read cold from the script at the audition. Each auditioner should plan to spend about five to ten minutes auditioning for the Directors.

A call back audition will be held on Saturday, June 13th starting at 9am and may last for up to three hours. Those auditioners who the Directors wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition.

Rehearsals will commence Saturday, June 20th and take place usually on Mon. – Wed. evenings and Saturday mornings depending on performer schedules. No Sunday rehearsals or performances.

The production will play on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons opening on Friday August 7th and playing through September 5th. There are no Sunday performances.

Two coworkers unwittingly meet through a Lonely Hearts column. As the two anonymously write love letters to each other, things don’t go so well at work. Not knowing that they are each others pen pals, their feud at work grows to a boiling point. Will they find out that they are actually secretly in love with each other? The original musical romantic comedy.


George NovackMale, mid 20’s thru 30’s – The manager of Maraczek’s Parfumerie. He is desperate for love and falls in love with Amalia after meeting her through a Lonely Hearts column. A likeable, somewhat soft-spoken, unassuming, regular guy. Baritone.  No dance experience necessary but should be able to move

Amalia BalashFemale, 20s thru 30’s – A new hire at Maraczek’s Parfumerie who falls in love with George after the two meet through a Lonely Hearts column. Strong willed but shy. Desperate for a both a job (at first) and love overall. Intelligent, bookish, sensitive but strong. Soprano needing ability to sing long lyric lines beautifully. No dance experience necessary.  
Ilona RitterFemale, 30 to 40ish – A cleark at the Parfumerie. Been through many men and longing for the real thing. Has a revelation during the show that she must change. Sensitive and very likeable character. Somewhat sexy and vulnerable. Often played with a character voice but not necessarily so. Mezzo.
Steven Kodaly Male – 35- 50 – A strikingly handsome clerk at Maraczek’s Parfumeriie. A womanizer and cad. Elegant, refined, self assured.. Actor should be confident in the role seducing women in general, Ilona in particular. Tenor with ability to sustain long lines.
Ladislav SiposMale – 30 – 60  – A compliant clerk at Maraczek’s Parfumerie who will do anything not to lose his job. Can be played slightly buffo but should be real character. Confidant of both George and Ilona. Very likeable character. Regular guy with wife and kids. Baritone.
Arpad LazloMale – 17 – 26 – The bicycle driving delivery boy for Maraczek’s Parfumerie, indefatigable, excess energy, boyish and willing, wants nothing more than to become saleperson at the parfurmerie. Strong tenor voice for one very energetic solo.
Mr. MaraczekMale – 45 – 65 – The strict, stubborn owner of Maraczek’s Parfumerie for first half. Undergoes big change. Stern, playful, vindictive, warm, many sides. Baritone for single solo that can be “talked” to certain extent.
The WaiterMale – 30 – 60 – An enigmatic role for an enigmatic actor. Might be played over the top somewhat, intensely romanticized notion of his restaurant, a thoroughly 19th century character, eccentric. Single scene character but can be great. Tenor
OthersWill need a minimum of 6 (at least 3 women 17 and above) more players to double as characters in the restaurant scene, customers in the shop, people on the street. All must be able to sing well. No dance training needed but must be confident can move well and be taught .

A Phenomenal Review of SHREK THE MUSICAL by Joel Taylor of The Column by John Garcia


Critic Joel Taylor of The Column by John Garcia has given PlazaCo’s production of SHREK THE MUSICAL a phenomenal review. Tickets for the show are going fast and are available by calling 817-202-0600 or by visiting www.plaza-theatre.com. Read on for a great review of the show then hurry to get your seats to the show.


SHREK THE MUSICAL at Plaza Theatre Company
by Joel Taylor of The Column by John Garcia

Shrek The Musical is based on the animated motion picture by Dream Works, starring the unforgettable vocal talents of Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Fiona, and John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad.

IMG_3365As with the animated movie, the musical version is also set in the land of Far, Far Away where mythical storybook creatures do exist and are a part of everyday life. The musical tells the story through song on how Shrek came to live alone with no family in the swamp he called home. Important elements early in the story show why Shrek became cynical and chose to avoid others. It also shows how Princess Fiona came to be placed in a castle guarded by a fire-breathing, talking and singing female dragon. Following the storyline of the animated film, Shrek’s swamp home is overrun by a host of storybook characters, including Pinocchio, The Big Bad Wolf, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell The Gingerbread Man, and many other magical storybook characters that are seeking refuge from the evil Lord Farguaad. With the help of Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona, the dastardly lord Farquaad is brought to his knees.

Luke Hunt directs Plaza Theatre’s production in Cleburne. The performance space is in the round, and Hunt effectively uses the limited space and a very large cast to present a colorful, lively, and very popular story. Some of the challenges inherent in the space include using a staging area that, at first glance, appears much too small to use for large casts. However, by effectively using all available entrances and exits, good placement of characters on stage and character involvement with the story, Hunt deftly defies the challenge as he uses the entire area for acting scenes and dance numbers.

Much of the performance in this production takes place in the center area of the set designed by JacSon P. Barrus. The set is largely bare with a raised platform that rotates. There are splashes of swamp green on otherwise black walls. While most of the performance takes place center stage, some of the performance happens in a corner with a doorway that doubles as a castle gate, while another corner is designed for entrances and exits. This area also includes a rotating flat that can be turned to represent different locations such as the swamp, castle, or a town setting in Duloc.

Costuming Costume Designer, Tina Barrus, and Makeup Designer Maria Bautista combine styles in a variety of colors, designs and styles, some whimsical and some practical, to enhance the stereotypical characterizations of the magical IMG_3324creatures in the land of Far Far Away. The costume and character makeup choices are some of the many highlights of the production. Barrus uses the expected dress for Fiona, a shimmering green with regal appearance. Shrek is costumed identical to the animated film version, with loose pants, loose shirt and darker-colored vest. Each of the magical and mythical characters from the land of Far Far Away wears costumes to match their character. Each is easily identifiable and wonderfully stereotypically dressed. Peter Pan is in green with a pointed cap that sports a feather. The Wicked Wtch has loose dark clothing, tall pointed hat and crooked broom, The Mad Hatter comes straight out of Alice in Wonderland, The White Rabbit is in a full bunny suit attire complete with bunny ears, while Donkey wears a grey body suit with tall ears and tail. Lord Farquaad dresses very similar to the animated film, including his tall hat and black wig. As the character is extremely short, the actor wears black leggings and knee pads to disguise his actual height. Bautista designs makeup for each character that also clearly defines each character, from Donkey’s grey face or Shrek’s green face to each of the myriad of magical creatures that we are familiar with from bedtime stories as children.

Lighting Designer Cameron Barrus uses a wide spectrum of colors for the variety of scenes and locations in the story. Specialized choices are made for the swamp, Duloc, the forest, or in the castle with the fire-breathing dragon.

Likewise, Sound Designer G. Aaron Siler provides just the right amount of sound, such as the ogre roars from Shrek, roars and sounds of flame from Dragon and the sounds of birds while Shrek, Donkey and Fiona are on their travels. I did not notice any lapse in sound, and the volume was easily heard and understood in the intimate space at Plaza.

Choreographer Rachel Hunt does remarkable work with the dance numbers in the production. Hunt uses the space and IMG_3285movement to enhance the elements of the story as it unfolds. Whether it is with only between Fiona and Shrek in “I Think I Got You Beat”, or scenes with the cast off characters in “Whats Up Duloc?”, “Make a Move”, and “Forever”; the tap dance sequence with the Rats, or “Freak Flag” and the movements of the Dragon and Skeletons in their respective scenes, Hunt incorporates simplified to complex choreography that makes the audience want to either sit back and appreciate the intricate movements or stand, as young audience members did, and dance along with the characters in the story.

I could write well deserved paragraphs about each actor onstage for this production. Unfortunately, time and publishing space are not sufficient to recognize each of the cast and characters that make Shrek so enjoyable to watch and experience. While there is a moment or two when an actor may not have a complete connection to the character in a particular scene, all of them, leads or ensemble, are actively engaged in the story.

Kelly Nickell plays Pinocchio with a good balance of charm, sincerity and mischievousness. Working with an elongated, expandable nose, Nickell uses a higher pitched voice and body movements to indicate a slight limitation in movement, therefore creating the illusion of being both a wooden puppet and a complete human boy. Nickell’s timing and vocal understanding of Pinocchio makes this an enjoyable and noticeable character to watch.

IMG_3212Teen Fiona is played by Eden Barrus. While only briefly seen on stage as younger Fiona, Barrus carries herself as a young princess. Her vocal skills when singing “I Know It’s Today” or in duet with the other Fiona is strong and pleasant and blends well with the voices of the younger and older Fionas. As one of the performing Blind Mice, Barrus along with LeAnn Indolos, JoAnna Phillips, and Julia Wood, sing and move together as one with a confidence and skill that suggests they have professional experience as a singing group.

Duloc Dancers Kelly Nickell, Cessany Ford, Eden Barrus, Mclain Meachem, Rylee Mullen, Julia Ward, and Ashleigh Moss are seen in when Shrek and Donkey arrive at Duloc. Each girl is dressed in the same style that includes yellow plastic wigs, plastic shirts and skirts that gives the impression they are perfect plastic dolls. During the song “Whats Up Duloc”, the dancers perform well together, working in synchronization, like machine parts working together with limited humanity.

Dashiell Maddox plays Bishop who performs the marriage ceremony between Farquaad and Fiona. His tall ecclesiastical hat certainly has the look of a church official. When pronouncing the wedding vows, Maddox uses a lisp and a voice that reminds me of the priest officiating the wedding in the film “Robin Hood Men in Tights”. While this is a funny choice, his voice, youthful appearance and demeanor are a slight detractor from achieving full comedic effect.

Marquel Dionne plays Dragon. I would assume, due to the space, Dragon is created to be taller than it is long. The main body of the dragon is controlled by a puppeteer. Dionne walks in front of the main body wearing large green and gloves with talons that are painted to look like dragon skin. As Dragon, Dionne menacingly waves her dragon hands as if to warn or attack. The Dragon puppet creation is impressive and will capture attention. Though, when Dionne sings, her rich, powerful and cultured voice will mesmerize and capture attention equally as much. As with several other actors in this production that play multiple roles, Freddy Martinez plays both Papa Ogre and Thelonius. As Papa Ogre, Martinez is unrecognizable in green face paint, funnel ears and the same style of costume Shrek is later seen in as an adult. As Papa Ogre, Martinez physically fits the mold of a large menacing creature. Though, when he and Mama Ogre are sending young Shrek off in the “Big Bight Beautiful World” I expected him to be more menacing. As Thelonius, assistant and right hand man to Lord IMG_3387Farquaad. Martinez plays him with a stoic demeanor and deadpan line delivery, which adds to the humor and counters the sometimes manic actions of Farquaad. . Donkey is played by Jonathan Metting. Whereas a real donkey walks around on four legs, He uses a wide range of body postures, arm movement and vocal variety to make his own the character Eddie Murphy made so famous in the animated film. Metting effectively incorporates non-verbal communications such as a tilt of the head, a stare or a prance, as well as sarcasm, wit, a pleading or indignant tone to be the lovable yet irritating Donkey that a generation grew up loving.

Clyde Berry, playing the role of Farquaad, spends much of his time onstage walking on his knees to give the appearance of a very short character. For those not familiar with this character, Farquaad may be short of stature but large of ego, arrogant, demanding and slightly sadistic when torturing and threatening Gingy (Gingerbread Man) in order to find the location of Princess Fiona. While John Lithgow voiced the film role with sarcasm and droll humor, Berry appears to take elements of Lithgow’s interpretation and adds a little manic style of his own. This creates a very menacing and manic performance of a man that relishes threatening his minions but plays up the outrageous humor of seeing a full grown man pretending to be a powerful, threatening little person. Berry maximizes the comedic contradiction with well-placed manic laughter and a consistent threatening tone. Berry gives the audience a Farquaad that audience children of all ages will love to hate.

The role of Princess Fiona is double cast, Daron Cockerell playing her on the reviewed performance. Cockerell more than fulfills the expectation of how the princess should look. Her long dress shimmers in the light and, for the most part, her graceful mannerisms are of a fairytale princess. The exception is when she wants to flee from Shrek and Donkey as the sun sets and she is delayed from finding a place by herself. It is then that she becomes more insistent as is seen with a stomp of the foot, glare to Shrek and Donkey and much more stern and demanding tone in the voice Cockerell is an experienced actor that skillfully transitions Fiona between the charming fairytale Princess and her alter ego. Watching Cockerell onstage, you well believe that you are watching reality on stage rather than just an actor playing the role of a character.

Shrek is well played by G. Aaron Siler. Ogres are large, green and always scary, that is except when an ogre secretly has a kind and caring heart, which can create a conflict when the mean, rude, green Ogre falls for the beautiful princess. Siler not only accepts the challenge of showing the multiple layers of this ogre, he excels in allowing the audience to see and experience the complexity of Shrek. The scene in which he attempts to explain to Donkey that ogres are like onions is well delivered with an earnestness that gradually transitions to frustration. Siler uses his body actions and certain attitude for his walk, occasional swagger and purposeful strides to convey the physicality of Shrek, while also allowing his voice to carry real emotion. At times, the Scottish accent Siler uses is inconsistent, but this minor flaw is overlooked with the more complete connection Siler has with his character.

The connection between Siler as Shrek and Cockerell as Fiona is apparent throughout the performance. This connection between the characters enhances the believability of the story. One such example is the touching and lovely interaction between Shrek and Fiona during the song “I Think I Got You Beat”, as each tells the story of their life as a child growing up in the swamp or in the Dragon’s Castle. Each actor skillfully demonstrates an understanding of their character to show sadness, regret, boasting, and ultimately empathy and a little understanding of the other.

For those few that have not seen the immensely popular film or musical, you should first watch the animated movie and then experience the musical. The movie includes such great vocal talent and animated characters that entranced the young and young at heart for over a decade. The musical includes songs, dances, choreography and entertaining acting that bring the audience more intimately into the story unfolding on stage. As I was watching the opening night performance, I saw people of all ages in the audience. Some sang along with the songs, and some knew the lines spoken by heart. Several children in the audience had come to the performance wearing a costume of one of the characters while a few of the young audience stood near their seats and danced away. One young Shrek in the audience made his way to the stage and danced with the cast during the closing oung Princess Fionas and a few young Shreks. During some of the dance numbers number.

Plaza Theatre’s cast is very energetic and enthusiastic, and with colorful costumes, some great singing, and talented acting, it all adds up to a lot of FUN. It reminds me of what it is to be a kid again, or still be a kid, and just enjoy a good story with a happy ending. This is a musical that should be seen and seen soon as I would expect tickets to sell out once word gets out how fun it is.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,126 other followers