Archive for December, 2010

Please consider Annie Get Your Gun auditions

I am writing today as a direct plea to anyone interested in being part of an exciting, well-directed, well-produced show. As Artistic Director at Plaza Theatre Company, it occurs to me that there may be some thinking that Annie Get Your Gun – being an old-fashioned, oft-produced show – isn’t worth the time or effort necessary to audition and take part in. Indeed, I understand that actors go where the exciting shows are and I wholeheartedly support that. Today I would like to take a moment to submit that Annie Get Your Gun as produced by Plaza Theatre Company in 2011, directed by Kyle Macy, musically directed by Kristin Spires and choreographed by Eddie Floresca IS the exciting show that actors and actresses are always wanting to be a part of.

First, the show itself. There is a reason that it has been produced many times from Broadway, professional revivals, community theatres, etc. It’s because the material is fantastic! It’s first Broadway run played 1,147 performances, spawned many revivals as well as a film version of the musical in 1950. Numerous musical standards are contained in the show including “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly”, “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun”, “They Say It’s Wonderful”, and “Anything You Can Do.” The story itself centers on a great historical character in Annie Oakley and tells her story in a charming, engaging way that audiences love. The show also features a large cast that gets a lot of exciting stage time and takes part in a variety of different situations throughout the show.

Second, Plaza Theatre Company’s background. Annie Get Your Gun will be the 41st show produced by Plaza Theatre Company since opening in Cleburne in April of 2007. During that time, PlazaCo has experienced exponential growth and will be playing to nearly 1,000 Season Subscribers for the run of Annie Get Your Gun. Additionally, the theatre has received accolades including the reader’s choice for favorite non-Equity theatre of 2008 by the reader’s of Fort Worth Weekly, 10 Column Awards for 2009 including best non-Equity musical of the year for it’s 2009 production of Aida, and currently leads the voting for the WFAA A-List as best live theatre in the Metroplex.

Third and finally, the production team and the concept of the show. I have personally engaged in production meetings with Kyle Macy, the director of Annie Get Your Gun, and I am aware of both his design concept and approach to this production. While some may say that Annie Get Your Gun is over-produced, I say that Kyle and his production team are poised to bring a fresh, thrilling, all-together inventive imagining of the show to the Plaza stage. The team will remain true to the material of course, but they will do so with a clever energy that will make being a part of this show something special.

In conclusion, I recognize there are many opportunities for actors this time of year. I strongly believe that taking part in Annie Get Your Gun at Plaza Theatre Company isn’t the tired, old war-horse it may appear to be on the surface. Give it a chance, I know, I know it is going to be something amazing.

Audition appointments are still available and can be made by visiting plaza-theatre.com/audition.asp

Further information about the show and audition are available by visiting that page as well.

The final open call is this evening from 7 to 10pm. Please consider sharing your talents with us this evening.

Sincerely, JaceSon P. Barrus, Plaza Theatre Company Artistic Director

A fabulous review of A CHRISTMAS CAROL from The Column by John Garcia

We’re just as thrilled as can be with the hard work and excellent effort of our marvelous A CHRISTMAS CAROL cast and crew. And it shows up on stage in this heartwarming rendition of the Dickens classic. Read below for a fantastic review of the show by Ashlea Palladino of The Column by John Garcia.

_________________________A CHRISTMAS CAROL________________________

Reviewed by Associate Theatre Critic Ashlea Palladino
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

First things first: minimize your email window, open your browser, type in http://www.plaza-theatre.com, and reserve tickets to this show. Do it now, else potentially forfeit your opportunity to see this cleverly-adapted, wonderfully-presented gem of a Christmas play. Go ahead – I’ll wait. (Insert the theme from Jeopardy.) Are you ready? Ok, now let me explain why you should gather up all the people you love, and drive them to Cleburne for this fantastic presentation.

I will admit that I wasn’t super excited to see this show, because it’s been done and re-done so many times, and I didn’t think it possible (or necessary) to bring anything fresh or new to the Charles Dickens classic. Further, A Christmas Carol is, for many, the gold standard by which all other holiday stories are measured, and I was concerned with it being adapted in any way. Suffice it to say I had some preconceived notions. What my skeptic’s mind prevented me from taking into consideration is my previous experience with Plaza Theatre Company. As it turned out, all my worry was for naught.

Nestled on a quaint corner in downtown Cleburne, Plaza Theatre Company’s 158-seat theater-in-the-round typically presents some challenges when designing a set, although A Christmas Carol played beautifully. Set Designer JaceSon Barrus opted for traditional and simple with this set, focusing more of his attention on blocking (Mr. Barrus also co-directed with his wife, Tina) and the inclusion of charming, era-appropriate props. The main stage area floor was painted to mimic a cobblestone street, and the ubiquitous Scrooge and Marley sign was painted above one of the interior theater entrances. The corner stage area was dressed as Scrooge’s bedroom, complete with a four-post bed, and linens in rich tones of burgundy and gold. The props, like the faux gas street lamp wrapped in garland, and the headstones used in the Christmas Future portions of the show, added necessary touches of realism to their respective scenes.

Mrs. Barrus is credited with costuming this production, and what a stellar job she did. Each of the gentlemen wore suits with tails and top hats, and the ladies wore ornate Victorian gowns. Scrooge’s robe and sleeping cap were perfectly suited to the character, as were his eyeglasses. The ladies’ hair was fashioned appropriately for the time, and even the Charwoman and Laundress looked every inch their parts.

With regard to his adaptation of the original, Mr. Barrus wisely didn’t change much. Instead he added some traditional European Christmas music, songs like “What Child is This?” and “He is Born, the Holy Child.” The Directors Barrus chose carols and hymns that might have been familiar to Charles Dickens when he originally wrote this story in 1843. Further, the talented crop of company members at Plaza includes several musicians, some of whom provided the accompaniment for the aforementioned songs. Instead of segregating the musicians from the actors, The Barrus’s brought them into the actual scenes in full costume, and in full sight of the audience. The inclusion of live instrumentation enhanced the vision of a 19th century English neighborhood.

Instead of leaving the story’s narrator without an identity, Mr. Barrus chose to portray the narrator as Dickens himself, relaying through the narrator that writers often include portions of themselves in their stories. The actor who portrayed the narrator/Dickens also portrayed Scrooge’s nephew Fred, which lent credibility to the narrator’s statement about writers including themselves in their story lines. This addition could’ve been risky, but the switches from Dickens to Fred and back again were smooth and made sense within the context of this adaptation.

Sound Designer G. Aaron Siler added heavy reverb to the mic of Marley’s Ghost, and the effect was powerful. The eerie boom of the reverb, partnered with the character’s makeup, and with the layers of chains he wore around his neck, lent credence to the Ghost’s ominous message to Scrooge. Similarly, Mr. Siler added a tinny sound to the mic of the Spirit of Christmas Present, which, when coupled with the character’s costuming and makeup, made the Spirit seem appropriately cold and unfeeling.

My favorite technical detail of this show was the knocker on Scrooge’s front door. During the portion of the narration when Scrooge approaches his front door and sees the knocker turn into the face of Jacob Marley, Mr. Barrus and his production team somehow managed to make the door knocker actually morph into the face of Jacob Marley. I’m sure there was a computer and a projector and a digital this and that involved, but in truth I don’t really want to know how it was accomplished – the mystery is part of the fun!

To say that Steve Lindsay was perfect as the curmudgeonly Ebeneezer Scrooge would be a gross understatement. From his silver pony tail, to his stooped shoulders, to his clipped British accent, Mr. Lindsay personified Scrooge in every particular. Mr. Lindsay is somewhat slight in stature, which might prove a hardship for some actors in this role, but Mr. Lindsay still managed to intimidate the humbug out of everyone he encountered. I enjoyed watching him most during the scenes where he observed events from his own life. Mr. Lindsay’s level of emotion was right on track with whatever was going on in a particular scene, and he never lost his character. I was surprised at my own welling of emotion during Scrooge’s redemption scene.

Luke Hunt was superb as Dickens the Narrator. He commanded attention whenever he was onstage, he was costumed well, and his timing was spot on. His British accent was pretty darned good, too.

Greg Burton, as Bob Cratchit, broke my heart several times during the performance, and I can’t say enough positive things about his sensitive (and sometimes quite funny) portrayal of Scrooge’s beleaguered Clark.

David Midkiff, as Tiny Tim, made the audience cheer with his a Capella version of “Away in a Manger.”

G. Aaron Siler wore, by my count, four different acting hats during this performance, though his turn as the Spirit of Christmas Present was his most memorable. Festooned in a velvet robe, Mr. Siler was the cheeriest and funniest Spirit. His thunderous laugh lightened several moments during the scenes of Christmas Present, and it was very hard not to smile while looking at his wig and headpiece.

Annalee Herron was beautiful as Belle, Scrooge’s former fiancée, and her rendition of “In the Bleak Midwinter” (she sang and played the harp) was emotional and stirring. As Mrs. Cratchit, Christine Atwell was the epitome of motherly love as she mourned at Tiny Tim’s graveside during the Spirit of Christmas Future sequence.

There are more than a dozen young children billed to this cast, most of whom also have a relative or two in the show. I was so pleased to see even the youngest of the children singing out and projecting his or her lines and remembering all the words to the songs.

Theater seems to be a family affair at Plaza, and this family seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. Congratulations and a great big thank you to all involved parties for your commitment to A Christmas Carol, and for creating what I believe to be one of the best productions in D/FW this year.

________________________________________________________

We are humbled by the kind recommendation and grateful for the kind words Ms. Palladino.

Tickets are becoming very limited, but there ARE still some seats available for the following dates:

Monday 12/13 at 7:30pm, Friday 12/17 at 7:30pm, Saturday 12/18 at 3:00pm, Monday 12/20 at 7:30pm, Tuesday 12/21 at 7:30pm, Wednesday 12/22 at 7:30pm and Thursday 12/23 at 7:30pm.

Please reserve today to be sure you don’t miss this holiday classic for the whole family.

A review of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers

We are grateful to The Star Group for continuing to review local theatre. Here is the most recent review of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group. We hope you’ll join us for the show this holiday season. Don’t just take our word for it, read what this critic has to say. Enjoy.

The Plaza Theatre Company unwrapped three surprise packages during its presentation of “A Christmas Carol,” playing through Dec. 23 at the Plaza Theatre in Cleburne.

One is Steve Lindsay, a Joshua resident who — until now — has not been seen on a Johnson County stage but has an acting and directing resume as long as Ebeneezer Scrooge is mean. He has a background in dramatic production at Bob Jones University and was a student of Shakespeare with the Royal National Theatre in London.

Lindsay plays Scrooge, and is so comfortable and confident in the role that you almost start to like the irascible old goat who — as everyone knows from this venerable tale written 170 years ago by Charles Dickens — hates Christmas and all the trimmings.

Another surprise is Annalee Herron, who plays the dual roles of Belle and Dora (double cast with Daron Cockerell, who can really sing, but played by Herron the night I attended).

In a vocal solo titled “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Herron reveals a beautiful voice. She accompanies herself on the harp in a number that is both stark in its simplicity yet provocative in its excellence.

Yes, there are musical numbers, and that’s the third surprise in this story that is typically filled with sinister and scary ghost-like characters who appear to Scrooge as he visits Christmas past and Christmas future.

Leave it to the creative talents of Plaza cofounders JaceSon Barrus and Aaron Siler — and their family members — to bring not only music, but clever sets and technical devices to the production that is perfect for Plaza’s intimate 160-seat theater-in-the-round.

Although penned in 1843, the underlying theme of “A Christmas Carol” is timeless: a workaholic too busy for Christmas, a working-class family with a sick child, and the redemption of a selfish miser who learns it is better to give than to receive.

In another creative Plaza move, Dickens serves as narrator, appearing and reappearing when a succinct explanation is needed, instead of drawing out the dialogue.

Luke Hunt, the theater teacher at Alvarado Junior High School, plays Dickens in the production I attended. The role is also played by Michael Hatch.

The narrations are interspersed with interaction with two quartets, one male, one female, who assemble to sing “Silent Night,” the “Wexford Carol” and “Westminister Chimes,” and are heard in eight other songs throughout the play, accompanied by flutist Rachel Stonger and violinist Betsy Wilson.

As you most certainly know, Scrooge bullies his lone employee, Bob Cratchit (played by Greg Burton), to whom he pays minimum wage and who he won’t allow to spend money for a lump of coal to keep his workspace warm.

Scrooge’s office is your introduction to the bare-bones but effective sets designed by Barrus, who, along with Mike Scarlett, also plays one of the charity men turned away by Scrooge as they seek a gift for the poor. The scenes involve only a large office desk for Scrooge and a school-type desk for Cratchit, but you get the idea immediately.

Other sets feature only a bench and fireplace for the Cratchit living room and a single lamppost for the town square.

It’s not all garage-sale items that supplement the acting and singing. Siler has created a neat reverberating device for the voice of Marley, the deceased partner of Scrooge played by Jonathan Kennedy, who also doubles as the undertaker. A fog machine creates a spooky atmosphere for scenes when apparitions appear and a door knocker mysteriously transforms into a face.

Jill Baker is good-hearted as Christmas Past and Siler is fun as Christmas Present. Christine Atwell is loving and tender as Mrs. Cratchit. Her excellent singing voice — front and center when she played Betty Blake in “Will Rogers Follies” and Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” – — doesn’t get many opportunities to be heard, so listen up when she is joined by Burton and the troupe in “What Child is This?”

About nine youthful actors named Barrus, Siler and Atwell comprise the children of the Cratchit and Fezziwig families, while David Midkiff hits all his lines as Tiny Tim.

Adapted for the Plaza stage by JaceSon Barrus, who also designed the sets, directed by Barrus and his wife, Tina, with musical direction by Christine Atwell, this is a fast-paced presentation that is too full of good music, interesting costumes and good acting to be anything by fun.

Give yourself a worthwhile Christmas present and see it.

“A Christmas Carol,” is presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 23 at the Plaza Theater, 111 S. Main in Cleburne.

Tickets — $12 for adults, $10 for seniors age 65 and older, $10 for students and $9 for youth age 12 and under, are available at the theater box office by calling 817-202-0600.

Photos of A CHRISTMAS CAROL 2010 (Green Cast)

Here are some photos from opening night of A CHRISTMAS CAROL 2010. These were taken by the amazing Ginny Rodgers. Enjoy (and come see the show).

A CHRISTMAS CAROL plays thru December 23rd. Check back for more pix (of the Red Cast).

AUDITIONS – Annie Get Your Gun

An open audition to cast Plaza Theatre Company’s upcoming production of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is being held December 6th and 8th from 7 to 10pm at the theatre.

Callbacks December 11th, 2010

The production is under the direction of Kyle Macy
Music Direction by Kristin Spires
Choreography by Eddie Floresca

An audition appointment is required.
Make appointment for Auditions for Annie Get Your Gun

Audition Preparation:
Those auditioning are asked to come prepared to sing 32 bars of an up-tempo song.  Please bring a ballad as well.  There will be an accompanist present, but the show will be using tracks.    Auditioners will not be allowed to audition without sheet music or backing track. There will also be an acting component of the audition which will not require preparation. PLEASE NOTE if you do not have sheet music or a backing track you WILL NOT be allowed to audition.

A call back audition will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11th at 9am. Those auditioners who the Directors wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition which may last up to 4 hours time. Dancing will be at the call back so dress prepared to move.

Performances:
The production will play on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons opening on Feb. 4th and playing through March 12th.   There is a special performance on February 12th.

Rehearsals:
Rehearsals will commence on Dec. 13th and take place Monday thru Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings till opening. No Sunday rehearsals or performances.  Holiday conflicts will be taken into account as much as possible.

ALL ROLES AVAILABLE

ALL ROLES REQURE SINGING AND DANCING, BEGINNERS/”NON-DANCERS” WELCOMED AND ENCOURAGED, AS THE LARGE CHORUS WILL HAVE LOTS OF BITS AND MULTIPLE CHARACTERS TO PORTRAY.

FRANK BUTLER – Cocky, ladies man, falls in love with Annie, seasoned road performer

BUFFALO BILL CODY – Larger than life Wild-West barker, father figure

DOLLY TATE – Brash and Brassy, seasoned road performer, Winnie’s older sister

TOMMY KEELER – half Native American  – Teen-mid 20’s  in love with Winnie – must dance/move well

WINNIE TATE –  Teen – mid 20’s in love with Tommy – must dance/move well

CHARLIE DAVENPORT –  Wild West Show Manger – has seen it all, and knows the game

FOSTER WILSON – Hotel owner, not a pushover

MAC, THE PROP MAN – has been there, done that, and is used to saving the day

CHIEF SITTING BULL

ANNIE OAKLEY – Countryfied young lady, great with a gun, becomes refined as show progresses

JESSIE, ANNIE’S LITTLE SISTER –  youth

NELLIE, ANNIE’S OTHER LITTLE SISTER – youth

LITTLE JAKE, ANNIE’S LITTLE BROTHER –   youngest of siblings

RUNNING DEER

EAGLE FEATHER

DINING CAR WAITER

SLEEPING CAR PORTER

PAWNEE BILL

MESSENGER

MRS. SYLVIA POTTER-PORTER

MRS. SCHUYLER ADAMS

ENSEMBLE OF INDIANS, COWBOYS, ROUSTABOUTS, CROWNED HEADS OF EUROPE, PARTY GOERS, ETC.

Make your appointment today. We are looking for a large, experienced group of actors. We hope to see you there.

Plaza announces it’s cast for MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the cast for it’s upcoming production of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES. This hilarious Texas comedy, written by Lynn and Helen Root, will be the first of Plaza’s 2011 Season of shows with a special performance on New Year’s Eve, December 31st. The show will then open on Thursday, January 6th and play thru Saturday, January 29th. The production is under the direction of Stefanie Glenn with stage management by Heather Aikman.

The cast of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES is as follows:

Tom Coterel – David Cook
Florence Rains – Tina Barrus
Link Hanson – Kevin Poole
Pamela Wright – Milette Siler
Hank – Luke Hunt
Lem – Kyle Adams
Mr. Wright – Jay Cornils
Jose – Andrew Guzman

Tickets for the New Year’s Eve performance as well as for the run of the show are available now and can be purchased by calling the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600. Further information about PlazaCo and MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES is available at plaza-theatre.com

Please Sign up for The Column

Hello PlazaCo fans,

As you know, in the past, we at Plaza have encouraged you to sign up for The Column by John Garcia’s theatre newsletter. To repeat, it’s a great resource for keeping up with casting news, other local theatre productions and so on. Being a member also allows you the privilege of voting for the annual “Column Awards”. These awards are voted upon annually by Column members and presented at a wonderful Gala in March. This year, Plaza has several productions we’re hoping might receive some recognition, but this is where we are looking for your help. If you are interested, please sign up. If you join by today (December 1st) you will be eligible to vote for this year’s awards. And it couldn’t be easier, just follow the instructions below:

Subscribing is easy:

Send an email to: thecolumnbyjohngarcia@yahoo.com

Subject line: SUBSCRIBE to THE COLUMN

…Include in email:

– FULL NAME

– PHONE NUMBER

– PHYSICAL ADDRESS

(for validation purposes since they are getting so close to voting season)

Please consider joining The Column by John Garcia. You’ll be glad you did.

Have an exceptional day.