Archive for November, 2010

2011 Season Tickets as Gifts

Boy have we got some great gift ideas for you. Season Tickets are a wonderful way to thrill your loved ones this Christmas. They’ll be thanking you all year long. Check out this video for information about Plaza Season Tickets as wonderful stocking stuffers.

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Plaza’s Holiday Raffle – a beautiful Legacy Quilt

Starting tonight, November 18th, and continuing through December 23rd, Plaza Theatre Company is excited to be running a Holiday Raffle. This year’s raffle is of a beautiful Legacy Quilt. This gorgeous quilt was quilted and donated by Cyndy Finnell and features nearly every T-Shirt printed for Plaza Theatre Company since opening in April of 2007. Here is a photo of the quilt as it is displayed in our lobby:

Plaza Legacy Quilt - 2010

Raffle tickets for a chance to win the Quilt are available now and can be purchased over the phone or in the lobby. Raffle tickets are $5 for one chance or $20 for five chances. The drawing will be held at intermission of the final performance of A Christmas Carol on December 23rd. YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN.

Please consider supporting PlazaCo by buying a chance to win this Legacy Quilt. We believe it would make an excellent addition to any Plaza supporter’s home.

Plaza Patron Testimonials – OVER THE RIVER

Here’s a fun video of some patrons comments after seeing a performance of OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS. Last weekend y’all – reserve today!!!

An excellent review of OVER THE RIVER – only one more week to see this awesome show

Over the weekend another great review of OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS came out in The Star Group newspapers. If you haven’t yet seen Over the River, this weekend is your LAST CHANCE. Take this reviewer’s advice and see the show this weekend before it’s gone. You’ll be glad you did.

The Star Group newspapers

PAUL GNADT
keenestar@thestargroup.com
Grandma’s house.
Safe, warm, the place of so many gatherings that bring back fond memories of what really is the most important influence and possession we have: family.
Or, as the Italians say, “tengo famiglia,” — meaning “keep the family,” — but probably much, much more in the original language.
And, as you would expect because you know the next two words in the title from one of the first songs you ever learned, “Over the River and Through the Woods,” playing through Nov. 20 at the Plaza Theatre in Cleburne, is about going to grandma’s house.

An Italian home in Hoboken, N.J.

I recall the warmth, the never-ending chatter and the wonderful food at my grandmothers’ houses in Joplin, Mo., and Galena, Kan., but I don’t remember the non-stop one-liners like those that fly fast and furious in this laugh-a-minute presentation that is the perfect production for the intimate, 160-seat theater-in-the-round Plaza.

Perfect because you can closely watch the visual expressions of the Kevin Poole-directed actors and because every so often, action is frozen while one of the actors speaks directly to the audience, a technique that draws us in on the secrets he or she is trying to hide from the others. It works.

The play is about 27-year-old Nick Cristano (Andrew Guzman in the production I saw but double-cast with J. Aaron Lett) who for 27 years has been having Sunday dinner at the home of his maternal grandparents, Frank (Dick Helmcamp) and Aida Gianelli (Julie Hefner), who loves to cook and eat. Nick’s paternal grandparents, Nunzio (Burl Proctor) and Emma Cristano (double cast with Trich Zaitoon and Shauna Lewis) show up to eat, eat some more and constantly badger Nick about being single.

“I want to see you married before I die,” Emma nags to Nick.
“Let me know when you think you’re going, and I’ll see who I can dig up,” he replies.

The conflict arises when Nick, a bright, ambitious marketing executive, must announce that he has some good news and bad news: he’s getting a promotion but moving to Seattle, which, for the grandparents, might as well be Italy, or Mars.

The grandparents scheme to find a good reason for Nick to stay in the person of Caitlin O’Hare, a neighbor who is pretty and single.
And a vegetarian.

When the grandparents invite her to dinner with Nick and she sits down to the all-meat-all-the-time cuisine, it’s just one of the numerous side-splitting situations in the play.
Caitlin — Annalee Herron in the play I attended and double-cast with Jill Etheridge — actually does like Nick, but he is convinced he needs to move to the other side of the country to escape the insanity of his overbearing grandparents.

It’s great to see Helmcamp, the veteran from the Carnegie Players, involved with a Plaza production. He conveys the “tengo famiglia” verbally and non verbally, and his dialogue with Nick about the old man’s driving problems — he’s been running into other cars — is one of the subplots that run throughout the play.
Proctor, another experienced actor making his Plaza debut, brings some seriousness to the play with his illness, which he keeps from Nick.
Helmcamp, Hefner, Proctor, Zaitoon and Lewis are veterans and, no matter who plays Emma, their talent for timing is showcased when they use a convoluted logic to try and remember who starred in “High Noon.”

The bit is so funny yet frustrating, you want to shout the answer from the audience.

Herron, in her Plaza debut, brings a confidence and self assurance to Caitlin that adds some stability and realism to the whacky world of the grandparents.
If Hefner, Lewis, Zaitoon, Helmcamp and Proctor are the pasta that holds this dish together, Guzman is the sauce that adds the flavor.
Fresh off major roles in the last two Plaza productions — “Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming,” and “All Shook Up” — Guzman is energetic, animated and can hold his own with the veterans. Too bad he can’t break into a song or two.

As always, the Plaza staging is creative as stage manager Analaura Keith makes sure every inch of space is used to the maximum.
See it. Better yet, if you can, take your grandparents with you.

And here’s another suggestion as the holidays approach. Why not consider season tickets to the Plaza as a gift to yourself or for someone else.
Plaza sold more than 800 season tickets last year and is committed to cap the sale at 1,000 this year, but they’re going fast. Call the box office and ask about season tickets.

“Over the River and Through the Woods,” written by Joe Dipietro, with the set designed by JaceSon Barrus, costumes designed by Kara Barnes, lighting by Cameron Barrus, and set dressing and properties by Milette Siler, plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Saturdays at the Plaza Theatre, 111 S. Main St., in Cleburne.
Tickets — $12 for adults, $10 for senior adults and students and $9 for children age 12 and under — are on sale at the box office or by calling 817-202-0600.

A great review of OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS from The Column by John Garcia

Hey y’all, we’ve been telling ya’ll that OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS is a wonderful show. And here’s a very nice review as a recommendation. The show plays through November 20th, so there’s not much time left. We’re awful proud of this show so we hope you’ll come on out for a lovely time at PlazaCo.

_______________OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS________________

Reviewed by Associate Theater critic Sten-Erik Armitage
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

If you are planning on heading out to the Plaza Theatre Company in Cleburne this month, I have a piece of advice for you. Eat first. I don’t believe it will be possible to see OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS without working up one impressive appetite!

The play was written by Joe DiPietro, who is best known for his work “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” At first glance, the story appears to be a coming of age story about 29-year-old Nick Cristano. But the true stars of this script are his grandparents. Classic, almost stereotypical Italian couples who love food, faith, and family. Tengo Famiglia!

Under the direction of Kevin Poole, the Plaza tackles a different type of show than the huge musical extravaganzas for which it is known in Cleburne. Utilizing a small cast, a simple set, and clever lighting, we are transported to a row house in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The play opens with a brief monologue from Nick (Andrew Guzman, double cast with J. Aaron Lett) introducing us to the story, and his maternal grandparents house. Frank (Dick Helmcamp) and Aida (Julie Hefner) host dinner every Sunday night for their family in their home. A house that is not only hot, but “August in Ethiopia hot” because of his grandparents unwillingness to run the air conditioning. This monologue sets the tone for the production.

Throughout the play, action freezes, and one of the characters will speak directly to the audience. Kudos to Cameron Barrus for his lighting design. Through clever manipulation of the lighting, the audience was always able to follow what was part of the dialogue of the play versus the audience asides.

Nick is there for the traditional family dinner, but this time, he has an agenda. He is going to announce to his grandparents that he has been offered a promotion that would cause him to move all the way to Seattle. Before he has a chance to make this announcement, we are introduced to his other set of grandparents – Nunzio and Emma Cristano (played by Burl Proctor and Trich Zaitoon – Emma is double cast with Shauna Lewis).

Burl and Trich were the shining stars in this production. They nailed their characters, and had a delightful chemistry throughout the production. This news devastates the grandparents, causing them to work up some sort of a plot to keep Nick close to home. The key to the plot? The lovely Caitlin O’Hare (Annalee Herron, double cast with Jill Etheridge). I won’t go in to any more detail – you will need to see the show for yourself to find out if the grandparent’s plan works and how the play works out.

Over the River is a fun script, full of one-liners, zingers and some powerful emotional moments. Dick Helmcamp as Frank did a wonderful job as the stereo-typical Italian grandfather. He has a moment in the second act where he tells his grandson the story of why he came to America that is gripping.

The ensemble as a whole seemed a little disconnected – as though chemistry was missing, particularly during the first act. As I looked at the program, I see many of the parts are double cast. I wonder if that is the root cause. It can be hard to develop chemistry when the actors don’t have consistency one week to the next. One other issue that distracted from the show was the attempted use of accents.

Some of the actors did a fine job, but with some, the accent was a distraction. Aida (Julie Hefner) for example sounded more Scandinavian than Italian, and Caitlin’s (Annalee Herron) Irish accent seemed forced.

That said, the second act redeemed the first. As I already mentioned, Frank’s monologue was powerful. The highlight of the show for me was when Nunzio (Burl Proctor) told the story of how he and Emma (Trich Zaitoon) met. Throughout the production there were many meaningful and tender moments between these two actors. Well done!

The pivotal role in this script (for reasons I won’t go in to, so as to not spoil the ending) is Aida Gianelli (Julie Hefner). Unfortunately, Julie wasn’t able to deliver her part with the emotive power necessary to really make this role be what it should be.

The young Nick Cristano (Andrew Guzman) does a wonderful job throughout the show and serves as an excellent foil for his grandparents. He was credible, passionate when necessary and funny at all the right moments.

Theatre in the round is always a challenging experience, but you can tell that the cast and crew at the Plaza Theatre company are up to the challenge. Although this play is rather simple, it does have a personality driven script. The direction (Kevin Poole), set design (JaceSon Barrus) and stage management (Analaura Keith & Shauna Lewis) were masterfully done.

Bottom line – should you see Over the River and through the Woods? If you are anywhere near Cleburne, absolutely! It is easy to see why this theatre is so well loved by their community. Over 800 season ticket holders is an impressive number, especially in a town the size of Cleburne.

Just remember – eat before you come, because Aida’s cooking and instinctive knowledge of how hungry you are will push you over the edge. Tengo Famiglia!

Reviewed by Associate Theater critic Sten-Erik Armitage
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

Plaza Theatre Company announces changes to it’s 2011 Season of Plays

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce it’s lineup of shows for the 2011 season. This season of shows includes one change from what has been previously announced. Plaza will continue it’s annual tradition of presenting 10 mainstage productions every weekend of the year playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30pm as well as every Saturday afternoon at 3pm. The season will include two comedies, seven musicals and one action-adventure.
JaceSon Barrus, Plaza Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, today announced the 2011 season as the Company kicks off it’s annual Season Ticket drive. “This season really has something for everyone” said Barrus. “There are familiar favorites, classic comedies, adventure, sword-fights, tap-dancing, beautiful music. It really will make Plaza’s 5th full season of shows a special one”.Plaza’s 2011 Season of Shows will feature: 

MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES – Comedy, December 31st thru January 29th

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN – Musical, February 4th thru March 12th
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL – Musical, March 18th thru April 16th

 

HARVEY – Comedy, April 22nd thru May 14th

 

HELLO, DOLLY! – Musical, May 20th thru June 18th
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT – Musical, June 24th thru July 30th
SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN – Musical, August 5th thru September 10th
**TREASURE ISLAND – Action-Adventure, September 16th thru October 8th
CRAZY FOR YOU – Musical, October 14th thru November 12th
ANNIE – Musical, November 18th thru December 23rd
The season will also feature special performances on both New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. The New Year’s Eve party will feature a performance of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES playing at 9pm while the Valentine’s party will feature a performance of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN at 7:30pm. Both shows will include food and favors as part of the evening’s festivities.

The production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT will be this year’s Plaza Academy Camp Show. The Camp Show is an opportunity for students to take part in a summer acting camp that includes taking part in Plaza’s summer production. Past Camp Shows at Plaza have included FOOTLOOSE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and ALL SHOOK UP.

Please note the replacement of THE 39 STEPS with TREASURE ISLAND. Plaza producers have explained that difficulty in arranging the rights for THE 39 STEPS caused this change in the schedule. TREASURE ISLAND, based on the masterwork by Robert Louis Stevenson, will occupy the 8th slot in Plaza’s 2011 season of shows.

Season Tickets for Plaza’s 2011 Season of Shows are available now. An adult ticket for all 10 shows is $120. A senior or student ticket for all 10 shows is $100 and a child ticket for all 10 shows is $90. The Plaza Theatre Company Box Office is available at 817-202-0600 Monday thru Saturday from 10am to 6pm. You can also find more information about Plaza by visiting plaza-theatre.com

**NOTE – TREASURE ISLAND is replacing the previously announced THE 39 STEPS. While Plaza looks forward to producing THE 39 STEPS in the future, difficulties with arranging the rights initiated this change to the previously announced schedule.

A short video about Plaza Theatre Company’s 2010 production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Plaza Theatre Company is excited to be presenting A CHRISTMAS CAROL for the holiday season in 2010. Click on this short video to learn more about this terrific production.

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