Archive for January, 2011

A little change-of-pace today – How about a poll? We want to know what you think

As you may know, Plaza Producers Milette, Aaron, Tina and JaceSon always announce the next year’s season as part of the annual “Thank You Party”. The party is an annual event that honors the actors, volunteers, technicians, designers, directors and board members from the last year’s worth of shows. The event also marks Plaza’s annual “birthday”. This year’s Party, which will mark Plaza’s 4th birthday, will be held at PlazaCo on April 12th. And, as usual, we’ll be announcing the 2012 season to the folks in attendance first. As you can imagine, we are heavily in the throes of preparing this season announcement as well as working to secure the rights to the shows we select. We call this “that’s a good show” season. Our closest friends hate this time of year because, we confess, we like to tease about what we may select a little.

But today, we’re going to let our blog readers in on a little behind-the-scenes peak at this selection process. AND we’re going to solicit a little input from y’all. Specifically we’re looking at a few titles and we’re asking which of these you’d like to see us produce. So, here is today’s poll question: (NOTE – please choose 2. You may also list some we haven’t listed)

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Plaza Theatre Co.

We’ve been there guys. You know that time of year when you want to show your sweetheart a good time, but what is there special to do? Well, we’ve got the perfect answer at PlazaCo. Bring your honey on out for our special “Valentine’s Party” on February 14th. it’s a spectacular night with all the trimmings. The evening includes:

  • A full meal served at The Lemon Sisters featuring Chicken or Salmon as the entree
  • Live entertainment while you eat
  • A wonderful performance of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
  • A delicious dessert at intermission
  • Dancing after the show
  • A lovely gift for the couple at the end of the night

The evening will be very special and all the work will be done for you. What could be easier than that?

Tickets for the event are $35 all inclusive per person or $25 all inclusive for season ticket holders per person. Reservations are available now by calling the Plaza Box office at 817-202-0600. Call or come by to reserve today.

Behind-the-Scenes Gun Tricks Practice for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

Enjoy this brief promotional video of some behind-the-scenes preparation for Plaza’s upcoming production of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.

Reserve tickets for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN today by calling the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600. The show plays from February 4th thru March 12th.

Final Weekend of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES

It’s official y’all. MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES is the most successful January show in Plaza history! And there are plenty of reasons why. It could be the hilarious and heartwarming script. It might be the fabulous direction and the phenomenal cast. It might be because of the exceptional critical praise of the show. Perhaps it’s because Plaza Theatre Company was just the honored recipient of “Best Theatre Group” on WFAA’s A-List. Or maybe it’s because the secret is out and our little theatre in Cleburne is growing up a little.

Whatever the reason, MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES is closing this weekend. And if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, THERE’S STILL TIME. Tickets are still available but going quick. Call or come by for your seats today.

Here’s a sample of some of the critical praise for the show:

Comfortable as an old shoe, with foot-stomping funny lines, a villainess who is a real heel, and some good ol’ boys to boot, “Man with the Pointed Toes” is the enjoyable — although predictable — current presentation of the Plaza Theatre Company. It runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Jan. 29 at the Plaza Theater in Cleburne. — Paul Gnadt of The Star Group

Aw, shucks, I reckon it’s worth the drive to Cleburne to see a sweet, funny show that you can take the kids and granny to without worryin’ about the content. It ain’t Shakespeare, but it sure duz make ya smile! — Carol Anne Gordon of John Garcia’s The Column

And here are some fun photos:

The Plaza Box Office is open Monday thru Saturday from 10 to 6pm and can be reached by calling 817-202-0600. Make plans to catch MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES before it’s gone.

Official Press Release – ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

The Musical Theatre treasure ANNIE GET YOUR GUN opens at Plaza Theatre Company beginning February 4th
January 21st, 2011
Plaza Theatre Company is proud to announce the opening of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN on February 4th, 2011. The production will play Plaza’s newly renovated theatre at 111 S. Main Street in Cleburne, TX opening on February 4th and playing through March 12th, 2011. The show will be the 41st produced by Plaza Theatre Company since it’s inception in November of 2006.
“ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is Americana at it’s very best”. says JaceSon Barrus, Plaza’s Artistic Director and Co-Producer, “Any story that blends romance, show business, the old American Wild West and the unforgettable music of Irving Berlin has to make for an extraordinary night at the theatre, and ANNIE GET YOU GUN doesn’t disappoint”.
The story of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is a fictionalized version of famed American sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her exploits with the celebrated Buffalo Bill and his Wild West show. Set to the immortal music of Irving Berlin, the show contains such musical theatre classics as, “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Doin’ What Comes Naturally”, “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun”, “They Say It’s Wonderful”, “My Defenses Are Down” and “Anything You Can Do”.
To bring ANNIE GET YOUR GUN to life on the Plaza stage, Plaza producers have hired a phenomenal production team with credentials from all over the Metroplex. Kyle Macy directs the show with musical direction by Kristin Spires, choreography by Eddie Floresca, Stage Management by Shauna Lewis and Aaron Dawn Schultz and Tabitha Barrus as Dance Captain. Costume design is by Tina Barrus, Set design by JaceSon Barrus, Lighting design by Cameron and JaceSon Barrus, Props by Milette Siler and Sound design by Aaron Siler.
The cast for ANNIE GET YOU GUN is: (double cast where noted)
Annie Oakley – Daron Cockerell
Frank Butler – JaceSon Barrus
Buffalo Bill Cody – Aaron Siler
Tommy Keeler – Jonathan Metting
Winnie Tate – Natalie Willingham / Betsy Wilson
Dolly Tate – Kristi Taylor
Charlie Davenport – Jay Lewis
Mac – Glen Turner
Foster Wilson / Pawnee Bill – James Long
Mrs. Wilson – Sherry Clark
Mac – Glen Turner
Sitting Bull – Solomon Abah
Nelson – Cameron Barrus
Jessie – Lillie Dewar / Dana Siler
Little Jake – Eden Grace Barrus
The Company – Suzi Hanford
– Lauren Walker
– Jillian Turner
– Jennifer Fortson
– Tabitha Barrus
– Amy Lee Reynolds
– Kasi Hollowell
– Abi Benke
– Aaron Yang
– Ben Midkiff
– Devlin Pollock
– Eduardo Aguilar
– Zack Fountain
– Auston McIntosh
– Lloyd Ekpo
– Drew Sifford / Daniel Scott Robinson
Additionally, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN will be featured as Plaza Theatre Company’s annual “Valentine’s Day” production. As in year’s past, Plaza will present a performance of the show on February 14th. The evening will include a full meal served at The Lemon Sisters, dessert, dancing, the show and a gift. Tickets are still available for this special event. 

As mentioned, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN will play Plaza Theatre Company from February 4th thru March 12th, 2011 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm with Saturday afternoon matinees at 3pm. Ticket prices are $15 for Adults, $13 for Seniors and Students and $12 for children Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 817-202-0600 or visiting the Plaza Box Office between the hours of 10am and 6pm Monday thru Saturday.

Action shots of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES

MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES is playing 2 more weekends y’all. Here is a taste of the show with some lovely action shots by Plaza’s resident photog, Ginny Rodgers. Have a look.

Looks like a lot of fun yes? Now it’s time to reserve if you haven’t yet. The show plays thru January 29th. Tickets are still available by calling the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600. You can also get more information about PlazaCo by visiting plaza-theatre.com

The cast list for Plaza Theatre Company’s production of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL

Below is the Cast List for Plaza Theatre Company’s production of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. We were overwhelmed by the level of talent at the audition and thank everyone who came and shared their talents with us. We are also thrilled with this stellar cast. The company for THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL is: (double cast where noted)

Percy – David Cook

Marguerite – Meredith Browning, Christine Atwell

Chauvelin – Ben Philips

Marie – Bree Cockerell, Caroline Rivera

Ozzy – Jonathan Metting

Dewhurst – Luke Hunt

Farleigh – JaceSon Barrus

Elton – Aaron Siler

Hal – Jay Lewis

Armand – Joey Geisel

Mercier – Chris Seil

Coupeau – Devlin Pollock

Jessop – James Long

Tussaud – Solomon Abah

Prince of Wales / Robesierre / Soldier – Bob Beck

St. Cyr / Soldier – Mike Scarlett

Antionette / Abigail – Milette Siler

Genevieve / Catherine – Daron Cockerell

Jacqueline / Elizabeth – Tabitha Barrus

Monique / Emma – Jill Baker

Renee / Felicity – Monica Glenn

Odette / Jane – Tina Barrus, Betsy Wilson

Cupid / Soldier – Auston McIntosh

Soldier – Justin Olivas

Chorus – Sarah Scarlett, Cameron Barrus, Eden Barrus

Some interesting background on Lynn and Helen Root, the writers of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES

We thought y’all might enjoy a little information and background on the writers of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES as well as hearing how the show became a play and was first produced. Incidentally, the first theatre to produce the show as a play, Glendale Center Theater in California, was the parent theater to Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City, Utah which is the first theatre that Producer JaceSon Barrus became aware of the show. Read on for some more fun tidbits about MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES.

_________________________________________________

In the late 1950s, Helen Root, former editor of a Hollywood fan magazine and more recently the “Women’s” director of publicity for Warner Brothers Studio, wrote a short story about a suddenly wealthy Texas cowboy who finds himself involved with two women, one a gold digger and the other tutoring him in social graces.

Helen’s husband, Lynn Root, a prolific Hollywood screenwriter and playwright, read it and suggested that it would make a better play. So, together, they co-wrote “Man With the Pointed Toes,” which was produced at the Glendale Centre Theatre (in a suburb of Los Angeles) in the mid 60s. Before that it had been produced on NBC’s golden age of television “Matinee Theatre”. It was later optioned by Universal Pictures when the man that had directed the Matinee Theater version ended up head of that studio. Unfortunately he left Universal before anything was done with the script. After a period of time the rights reverted back to the Roots so “Man With The Pointed Toes” is again available for theatrical production. One of the first to produce it, when rights once again became available, was the Glendale Theater where it had had its theatrical debut.

Lynn Root is probably best known for his acclaimed all-black 1940 Broadway musical, “Cabin in the Sky” and its equally successful 1943 Hollywood version, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters and Duke Ellington. Root, who died in July 1997 at the age of 93, wrote several hit Broadway shows and many major Hollywood screenplays. Helen passed away three years later also at the age of 93.

Lynn was born in Minnesota and Helen was born in Nebraska. They met in Los Angeles when she was handling publicity for Warner Brothers studio and he began writing for the movies. Lynn started out as a singer and actor (he was a protégé of Antoinette Perry for whom Broadway’s Tony Awards are named), then he fell into playwriting. Among his Broadway shows were “The Milky Way” (1934). The stage version starred Brian Donlevy and Gladys George. In 1936, it became a film vehicle for Harold Lloyd and Adolphe Menjou and was remade in 1946 as Danny Kaye’s “The Kid from Brooklyn.” After moving to Hollywood, he was under contract to several studios. He wrote scripts for films that starred Cary Grant, Harold Lloyd,
Fred Astaire and Bob Hope, among others.

In November 2006 as a test the Downtown Cleburne Association partnered with JaceSon & Tina Barrus and Aaron & Milette Siler to put on a weekend of shows to prove the concept of what is now Plaza Theatre Company. MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES was the show we presented as was well accepted. Now, over four years later we are proud present this same gem of a show as our 40th production in Cleburne, Texas. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we love presenting it to you.


Bringing ANNIE GET YOUR GUN to the Plaza stage – a Director’s Journey Part 2

We thought it would be fun for our patrons and fans to get a behind-the-scenes look at the process a Director goes through in bringing a large musical to the Plaza stage. To that end, we have asked Kyle Macy, Director of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, to provide a weekly blog about his Director’s journey. This is Part Two of his Director’s Journey blog. — Plaza Producers


Annie Got Her Blog

Volume 2

When directing, I find it interesting to research everything I can about a production.  Finding old drafts of scripts, cut songs, production photos, and reviews provide a great insight into why a show is the way it is, and how it ended up that way.

There was the original Broadway production, which came after several movie treatments of the life of Annie Oakley, and even two films made by the real Buffalo Bill, only one of which exists in its entirety today.   Not to mention the thousands of dime novels and serials that had been written about these two folks.  There were so many stories about these celebrities that it was inevitable that a stage adaptation would follow, in this case in musical form (although there were plays as well, some of which starred the real Annie and Bill).

The original production, once assigned to Irving Berlin by Rogers and Hammerstein, almost fell apart as Berlin felt that writing songs to fit a specific story would essentially cramp his style.  Eventually persuaded to accept the job, Berlin wrote music and lyrics while Dorothy Fields and her brother wrote the book for her friend Ethel Merman.  They also published a straight adaptation that Dorothy felt was just as strong without Berlin’s music.

The original book is much more true to what life was like for the traveling shows of the time.  The town would get hit by the publicity troupe first, who would generate interest/excitement until the arrival of the troupe, who would parade through town, leading folks to the performance venue.   The revival version of the script resets the entire production inside a circus tent, and uses Wild West pageantry to cover scenic changes.

Other changes from the original to the Peter Stone revival version include changing the relationships of the secondary characters of Tommy and Winnie.  Tommy was originally the nephew of Buffalo Bill, and Winnie was Dolly’s daughter, instead of sister.   The treatment of all “Indian” references was addressed as well.   The butt of most punch-lines, all offensive jokes were struck including the song “I’m an Indian, Too” which includes what some consider playful pokes at Native American society with names like “Running Nose, Son-of-a-Bear, Falling Pants, Hole-in-the-Ground, and Hatchet Face” as well as gibberish language.  This song alone prompted protests outside both Broadway and eventually cinemas where the movie adaptation was shown.

What is interesting to consider is how clever Buffalo Bill was in some aspects of his marketing.  Always one to take advantage of the latest technological trends, he was one of the first to use electricity to light his show at night, made excellent use of newspapers, magazines, and eventually films to promote his productions.  An advocate for the rights of Native Americans as well as women, he was a pioneer of social change.  Biographer Larry McMurtry wrote an excellent book that chronicles the fame of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, whom he considers to be the first American, if not worldly, superstars.

However, if Annie Oakley were alive today, she would sue Broadway and win.  While one can expect a bit of artistic license in creating a theatrical biography, AGYG is only very loosely based on the real Annie Oakley.  Phoebe Ann Moses (her real name) was the daughter of Quakers who moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio for a better life.  While proud of her sharpshooting skills, Annie would never brag or showboat the way her “character” does.  Nor would she ever wear anything but modest Victorian style attire.   In fact, Annie spent much of her fortune suing over 55 newspapers who “erroneously” published stories about her that she shoplifted to sell items for her cocaine addiction.   Feminists would attempt to secure her in their cause to no avail.  While she advocated for women to be able to handle themselves with a gun, she would refrain from political activity.

Also, the timetable of events is very much off, out of order, or made up.  For example – Sitting Bull did indeed meet Annie and call her Little Sure Shot, but he only stayed with the Wild West Show for four months.    Annie was also not the only female sharpshooter, nor even the first, and was wary of others in the same show with her.

In any event, discovering the real people involved in this story has been intriguing, and Plaza’s production of AGYG will endeavor to find a balance between presenting historically accurate information when possible, as well as the fun storytelling.    This revival version production will feature one cut song added back in to enhance the character arc for one of the men.   As of now, all the other numbers and verses are still in as well, but as rehearsals turn into runs, some things may fall under the knife for the sake of time.

How much of the production concept will make it from the page to the stage?  What bumps will be encountered in the next weeks?  Plans and designs are all well and good, but once budgets and build times get determined, things often change.  Drastically.   Check back again in a week to see how well things are faring.

Kyle Macy – Director, Annie Get Your Gun

A terrific review of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES from The Column by John Garcia

Here’s another great critical recommendation for MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES y’all. Don’t wait to reserve, you’ll have a side-splittin’ good time if’n ya do, we promise. Read on for Carol Anne Gordon’s review of the show for John Garcia’s The Column.

Reviewed by Carol Anne Gordon, Associate Theatre Critic for
John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

______________________MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES__________________

Reviewed by Carol Anne Gordon, Associate Theatre Critic for
John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

I eat my peas with honey;
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.
– Anonymous

Ah, the country life. Eating your beans with a knife, slurping your soup, drinking your coffee “saucered and blowed”. I had relatives that did all of the above and while I loved them dearly, I especially loved having them at the holiday table with my “citified” friends, so I could watch the reactions to these quaint dining habits.

Man with the Pointed Toes, Plaza Theatre Company’s fortieth production, deals with grooming country boys into proper gentlemen so that they won’t get those wide-eyed looks of amazement from civilized people.

It’s sort of a reverse My Fair Lady except you like all the characters
in this show (c’mon now, tell the truth, sometimes `enry `iggins gets on your nerves a bit during that long dialogue at his mother’s `ouse, doesn’t he?).

This play is sweet and funny and moves along at a brisk pace with good comic timing. It reminds me of one of those old movies on TCM you stumble upon while channel surfing and then get hooked on because of the charming comedy and story line. David Cook, as the suddenly wealthy cowboy who discovers oil on his land, delivers the type of loveable “aw, shucks, ma’am” performance that you often find Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper doing on TCM.

He is backed by a small but obviously mutually affectionate cast that has great chemistry and good instincts. It says a lot for a company when, already by opening night, they know how to hold for laughs that come in places they weren’t really expecting them. Kudos to director Stefanie Glenn for styling such a close knit group of actors that works so well together. Unlike most of Plaza Theatre Company’s shows, this one is not double cast, so I can guarantee that you’ll get the same harmonious performance that I saw when you attend.

When you look at the lists of the cast and crew, and see that a lot of the people there have just a few surnames, and that some of the cast also doubles as crew, you might wonder if Plaza is an amateurish bunch. But no, unlike the Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland movies that you also frequently find on TCM (“hey, kids, let’s put on a show! We can use my dad’s barn and my mom can sew the costumes out of flour bags!”), Plaza casts are professionally mic’d (are you listening, Dallas theatres-in-the-round?), and expertly costumed in vintage clothes from the proper era. (Just one note for Sound Designer G. Aaron Siler: turn up Ms. Siler’s volume just a hair. Her s*xy, deeply purred comments are sometimes a little hard to catch when there’s music playing on stage.)

Set Designer JaceSon Barrus whisks us away to the Snake Eyes Ranch in 1960’s Texas with his shabby chic wooden Western furniture, which is ably complemented by Milette Siler’s set dressing. The language, unchanged from when this play was written almost fifty years ago, reminds us that it’s possible to get good solid belly laughs without going blue. I got a special kick out of the use of the words “high” and “g*y”, whose meanings sure have changed a lot in the last half century. And you’ll never be able to say the words “social hygiene” with a straight face again.

As the Four Stooges in residence, Luke Hunt, Kyle Adams, and especially Kevin Poole and Andrew Guzman, all give slyly comic performances, while good girl Florence Raines and bad girl Milette Siler personify the light and dark sides of femininity. As the long-suffering sire of the bad girl, Jay Cornils finally gets a well deserved laugh with his last line in the play.

Aw, shucks, I reckon it’s worth the drive to Cleburne to see a sweet funny show that you can take the kids and granny to without worryin’ about the content. It ain’t Shakespeare, but it sure duz make ya smile!