Archive for February, 2011

Only Two Weeks Left To See ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

We know how it is, your busy life has made it hard for you to come out to see ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. Have no fear though, you’ve still got 2 weekends left to catch one of the most popular shows in Plaza history. For those who haven’t heard, here’s a few nice things that have been said about the show:

“Annie Get Your Gun marked my fourth visit to Plaza Theatre Company. Each time I have left the theater completely amazed. Not only do they raise the bar high for other area theaters, but they raise it high for themselves. Each time they have succeeded in reaching for that high bar. They have done so because of their hard work, their commitment, and their humility”. — Lyle Huchton of The Column by John Garcia

“The fact that this entire Plaza production is a fast-paced kaleidoscope of colorful costumes and familiar songs, delivered with the excellence we’ve come to expect from the Plaza, makes an evening at “Annie Get Your Gun” a barrel of fun”. — Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers

And here’s a collage of wonderful photos of the show by in-house photographer Ginny Rodgers:

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN play at Plaza Theatre Company through March 12th and seats are available for both weekends. You’ll be glad you took the time to see this one, we promise. Call the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600 to reserve today. Tickets are available but going fast.

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Plaza Theatre Company – Casting Announcement for HARVEY

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the Cast List for it’s upcoming production of HARVEY. The show will be under the direction of Aaron Siler, the cast is as follows: (double cast where noted)

Elwood P. DowdJay Cornils

Veta Louise SimmonsSoni Barrus, Katy Wood

Myrtle Mae SimmonsMilette Siler

Mrs. Ethel ChauvenetTrich Zaitoon

Dr. SandersonLuke Hunt

Nurse Ruth KellyRachel Benham

Dr. William ChumleyJamie Long

Mrs. Betty ChumleyJoAnn Gracey, Barbara Richardson

Judge Omar GaffneyJodie Barrus

Mr. WilsonJaceSon Barrus, Mike Hatch

Miss JohnsonJudy Barnett, Barbara Rose

Cab DriverAaron Siler

Rehearsals for HARVEY will commence on March 19th. The production will open at Plaza Theatre Company on April 22nd and play thru May 14th.

HARVEY tells the story of an affable man named Elwood P. Dowd and his unseen to all but Elwood, presumably imaginary friend Harvey, a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall rabbit. When Elwood starts to introduce Harvey to guests at a society party, his society-obsessed sister, Veta, has seen as much of his eccentric behavior as she can tolerate. She decides to have him committed to spare her daughter Myrtle Mae and their family from future embarrassment. Comedy ensues when the folks at the Sanitarium have Veta committed instead of Elwood. This is the play on which the famous movie starring James Stewart is based.

Thank you to all who auditioned and congratulations to those were cast. We look forward to getting HARVEY underway soon.

~ PlazaCo


Here’s Your Chance To Suggest A Show – Give Us Your Thoughts

As many of our Plaza fans know, we are well into “that’s a good show” season here at PlazaCo. This is the time of year when we’re finalizing our season for the following year in anticipation of announcing it at our annual THANK YOU PARTY which is being held here at PlazaCo on Tuesday, April 12th. Everyone who has taken part in a Plaza show during the past year will be invited to the event to celebrate Plaza’s 4th birthday and to enjoy special thank you festivities. One of the “perks” of the evening is that those in attendance will be the very first to see Plaza’s 2012 season unveiled, so we hope you’re saving the date for this year’s “thank you” celebration. Invitations will be sent very soon.

All of that said, we are still searching for a few shows to fill out our lineup. The show we are looking for has to be a non-musical, can be either a comedy or drama, and suitable for the type of theatre we like to produce at Plaza. And, for the record, being “family-friendly” doesn’t mean the show can’t be intellectually challenging. We’d love your input, so if you have a suggestion, simply reply to the comments in this post. Make your voice heard friends, we’re open to any and all ideas.

Thanks ~ JTAM

Fort Worth Opera at Plaza Theatre Company – 2 Special Events!

Plaza Theatre Company is proud to host this special evening at Plaza Theatre in Cleburne, Texas. Clyde Berry, Director of Education of Fort Worth Opera and the Fort Worth Opera Studio Artists will guide you through an evening of music by singing selections from Plaza Theatre Company’s 2011 Season to show the similarities between the wonderful shows that you have grown to love at Plaza Theatre and the fantastic shows presented by Fort Worth Opera.

Also through humorous and fun audience interaction using pop culture references Clyde Berry will demonstrate how much you already know about opera and will bust all the stereotypes you may have.

The Fort Worth Opera Studio Artists are four young artists chosen from a national audition to promote and perform for Fort Worth Opera. Each has completed a master’s level training program and other training programs. These singers will sing songs from Plaza’s Season and well-known classic opera pieces.

2010-2011 Fort Worth Opera Studio Artists:

Rosa Betancourt Meaghan Deiter Joel Herold Logan Rucker
Rosa Betancourt Meaghan Deiter Joel Herold Logan Rucker
Meaghan Deiter Joel Herold
Clyde Berry
Director of Education
Christopher Devlin
Principal Vocal Coach

If you are interested in more information about the Fort Worth Opera and their festival of shows starting May 12th, please visit fwopera.org.

To reserve your FREE ticket for this special event please call the Plaza Theatre Company box office at 817-202-0600.

Additionally, PlazaCo is thrilled to be hosting the Fort Worth Opera Children’s Opera Theatre, which will be performing their smash hit children’s show titled BILLY GOATS GRUFF. With the music of Donizetti, Rossini and Mozart, three goats learn to stand up to bullies and to treat each other with respect. Appropriate for ALL AGES.

This wonderful show by John Davies has taken the traditional tale of three happy little goats who simply want to cross a bridge and expanded it for young students. These goats learn to stand up to bullies and to treat each other with respect to the delightful upbeat music of some of the most famous arias of opera. In a playground situation that everyone will recognize, Lucy, Ernesto and Dandini confront Osmin and teach him about friendship.

Tickets to this special, one-time-only production are only $5 a seat and are available by reservation.

Billy Goats Gruff

  • Productions are appropriate for ALL AGES.
  • Approximately 45 minutes followed by a 15 minute Q and A session
  • Sung in English
  • Professionally directed, costumed and staged
  • Professional singers from the Fort Worth Opera Studio
  • A FUN and UNFORGETTABLE experience!

Please consider joining us at PlazaCo for either one of these exciting events as we team with the Fort Worth Opera to bring opera to Cleburne. Give us a call at 817-202-0600 today.

Another critical rave proves ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is a sensation!

Something is going seriously right in Cleburne y’all. ANNIE GET YOUR GUN has received another critical rave – this time from the prestigious The Column by John Garcia. If you haven’t yet gotten your tickets, PLEASE call and reserve immediately. We hate turning away folks, but we only have so many seats. Read on for another gushing review of the show.

_____ANNIE GET YOUR GUN _____

Reviewed by Lyle Huchton, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

In their mission statement, Plaza Theatre Company states that it is their intent to “enrich the community with high quality, family- friendly entertainment that warms the heart, uplifts the spirit, and tells worthy stories.” They certainly have not strayed from their intended path but have blazed a new trail with their current production of Annie Get Your Gun playing until March 12 at their theater Cleburne.

Annie Get Your Gun was conceived and written in 1946 by Herbert Fields and his sister Dorothy as a vehicle for Broadway legend Ethel Merman. It tells a fictionalized story about true life sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler. With music and lyrics by Irving Berlin it produced some of musical theaters greatest hits including “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun”, and “Anything You Can Do”.

Director Kyle Macy blew the dust off this musical theater “warhorse” with clever staging, a smart set design, and a very youthful but enthusiastic chorus ensemble. Mr. Macy took full advantage of the theater in the round setting with the use projections on the walls to establish time and place. He, with the help of co-set designer JaceSon Barrus, created several large rolling crates that became the needed furniture, playing levels, and prop storage for each scene. These crates allowed for quick changes of the scenery that kept the action moving.

In scenes that called for use of the full ensemble, Mr. Macy, again taking advantage of every inch of usable space, lined them up in the aisles and up the seating platforms as not to clutter the playing area. By employing this type of careful and inventive staging he kept the focus on the interplay of the relationships that were happening on stage.

It would be difficult to try and follow in the footsteps of legendary performers as Ethel Merman and Bernadette Peters both whoplayed Annie Oakley on Broadway.

Daron Cockerell put her own unique stamp on the character of the famous lady sharpshooter. Her endearing rendition of “Doin’  What Comes Natur’lly” left me smitten.
She followed through with a slightly melancholic version of “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun” and then went toe to toe with JaceSon Barrus, as Frank Butler, with a
feisty “Anything You Can Do.” Ms. Cockerell delivered an Annie Oakley that was smart, energetic, and original.

JaceSon Barrus made a strong impression as Frank Butler, Annie’s intended and future husband. Mr. Barrus gave a natural ease to the character. Not only did he show Frank’s strength but showed a softer side to him that was refreshing.

Mr. Barrus and Ms. Cockerell were outfitted with body mics that I am not quite sure were necessary given both had strong and credible singing voices. In the case of Ms. Cockerell, it produced an un-natural quality to her speaking voice and at times seemed to be coming from offstage.

Other memorable performances were Soloman Abah as Chief Sitting Bull, Jonathan Metting as Tommy Keeler, and G. Aaron Siler as Col. Buffalo Bill Cody.

When it comes to Western themed musicals, I had seen costumers take the easy route by outfitting the men in bib overalls, modern cut blue jeans, and hideous plaid shirts that are made even more so with the addition of glowing white polyester cow-gal fringe.

The women got worse treatment by having to endure faded and thread-bare 1980’s Jessica McClintok prairie-style dresses appropriately named the gunny sack. If that was not bad enough, they would then be crowned with craft store straw hats that appear to had been snatched out of Grandma’s “Kountry” themed decorated kitchen.

Costume Designer Tina Barrus did not allow this cast to suffer such grotesque atrocities. She avoided these trappings by possessing a great respect and command for the process of costuming. What Ms. Barrus did was start with the proper period silhouette. She then started to add accessories to each costume to enhance characterization. Staying true to the productions time period, Ms.
Barrus used high button shoes, spats, hatpins, cut-away coats, and ball gowns festooned with flowers. She also maintained the theme of the piece without the use of a single pair of blue jeans or a predictable calico dress. Considering the number of costumes I witnessed crossing the stage that evening this was quite a feat indeed.

Annie Get Your Gun marked my fourth visit to Plaza Theatre Company. Each time I have left the theater completely amazed. Not only do they raise the bar high for other area theaters, but they raise it high for themselves. Each time they have succeeded in reaching for that high bar. They have done so because of their hard work, their commitment, and their humility.

Reviewed by Lyle Huchton, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

BREAKING NEWS: Plaza Theatre Company receives 41 Column Awards nominations

This past Sunday, The Column Awards organization announced the nominations for the 2010 Column Awards as voted for by subscribers of The Column by John Garcia. Plaza Theatre Company was honored to receive 41 nominations in a total of 29 categories for 7 different 2010 productions. The Awards will now enter the final round of voting before being awarded to this year’s winners at the annual Column Awards Gala on Monday, March 14th.

Following is a list of nominees from Plaza Theatre Company productions for the 2010 Column Awards: (all non-Equity)

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE – 1 Nomination

Best Featured Actor in a Musical – CALEB WHITE

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STEEL MAGNOLIAS – 9 Nominations

BEST PLAY OF THE YEAR
Best Director of a Play – DANIELLE BEACHAM
Best Actress in a Play – TRICH ZAITOON
Best Actress in a Play – DANIELLE BEACHAM
Best Stage Manager of a Play – BECKY WATSON
Best Costume Design of a Play – KARA BARNES
Best Set Design of a Play – JACESON BARRUS, PARKER BARRUS & MILETTE SILER
Best Lighting Design of a Play – CAMERON BARRUS
Best Sound Design of a Play – AARON SILER

_______________________________________

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN – 2 Nominations

Best Supporting Actress in a Play – TABITHA BARRUS
Best Featured Actress in a Play – CHRISTINE ATWELL

_________________________________________

ALL SHOOK UP – 5 Nominations

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – JOEY GEISEL
Chita Rivera Dance Award, Male – CALEB WHITE
Chita Rivera Dance Award, Female – TABITHA BARRUS
Best Choreographer of a Musical – MICHAEL SYLVESTER
Best Musical Director of a Musical – JOEY GEISEL

______________________________________

INTO THE WOODS – 11 Nominations

BEST MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
Best Director of a Musical – AARON SILER
Best Musical Director of a Musical – REBECCA LOWERY
Best Stage Manager of a Musical – SHAUNA LEWIS
Best Actor in a Musical – BEN PHILLIPS
Best Actress in a Musical – CAROLINE RIVERA
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical – TAYLOR O’TOOLE
Best Costume Design of a Musical – TINA BARRUS, SHAWNA PERKINS
Best Set Design of a Musical – AARON SILER
Best Lighting Design of a Musical – AARON SILER
Best Sound Design of a Musical – AARON SILER

_____________________________________

OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS – 12 Nominations

BEST PLAY OF THE YEAR
Best Director of a Play – KEVIN POOLE
Best Stage Manager of a Play – ANALAURA KEITH, SHAUNA LEWIS
Best Actor in a Play – AARON LETT
Best Supporting Actor in a Play – DICK HELMCAMP
Best Supporting Actor in a Play – BURL PROCTOR
Best Supporting Actress in a Play – TRICH ZAITOON
Best Featured Actress in a Play – JILL ETHERIDGE
Best Costume Design of a Play – KARA BARNES
Best Set Design of a Play – JACESON BARRUS
Best Lighting Design of a Play – CAMERON BARRUS
Best Sound Design of a Play – AARON SILER

_______________________________________

A CHRISTMAS CAROL – 1 Nomination

Steve Lovett Award for Outstanding New Work by a Local Playwright – JACESON BARRUS

____________________________________________________________________

We also want to mention those who have worked at PlazaCo who received nominations for their work at other area theaters. Here is that list:

Best Director of a Musical – TAFFY GEISEL for ANNIE at Artisan Center Theater
Best Musical Director of a Musical – JOEY GEISEL for ANNIE at Artisan Center Theater
Best Choreographer of a Musical (Equity) – MICHAEL SYLVESTER for SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES at Casa Manana
Best Choreographer of a Musical – EDDIE FLORESCA for OKLAHOMA at Artisan Center Theater
Best Choreographer of a Musical – EDDIE FLORESCA for URINETOWN THE MUSICAL at Greater Lewisville Community Theatre
Best Stage Manager of a Musical – SCOUT HARRELL for ANNIE at Artisan Center Theater
Best Actor in a Musical – AARON LETT for 1776 at Greater Cleburne Carnegie Players
Best Actress in a Musical – COURTNEY SIKORA for JEKYLL AND HYDE at Greater Lewisville Community Theatre
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – JOEY GEISEL for ANNIE at Artisan Center Theater
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical – AMY ATKINS for 1776 at Greater Cleburne Carnegie Players
Chita Rivera Dance Award, Male – DREW DAVIS for OKLAHOMA! at Artisan Center Theater
Chita Rivera Dance Award, Male – EDDIE FLORESCA for SWING at Artisan Center Theater
Best Lighting Design of a Musical – JACESON BARRUS for JEKYLL AND HYDE at Greater Lewisville Community Theatre
Best Set Design of a Play – KYLE MACY for BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS at OnStage in Bedford
Best Sound Design of a Play – KEVIN POOLE for NUPTIALS at Artisan Center Theater

________________________________________________________________

We encourage everyone to attend this year’s Column Awards Gala which is Monday, March 14th in the Carpenter Hall at the Irving Arts Center. In addition to recognizing artistic excellence in the Metroplex, the event is also a major fundraiser for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. Tickets to the event can be reserved by calling (972) 252-2787 (ARTS) and further information is available by visiting http://www.thecolumnawards.org/

We wish to thank those who voted for PlazaCo productions as well as those who worked so hard to make these nominations possible. While hundreds of people contributed over the last year, only a few received recognition with these nominations, and we wish to say that these nominations reflect the hard work and excellence of everyone involved. So thank you to ALL of our amazing Staff Members, Actors, Designers, Technicians, Board Members, Volunteers and Patrons. 2010 was amazing and we can’t wait for an astonishing 2011.

Auditions – HARVEY

AUDITION ANNOUNCEMENT:

All roles are open for Plaza Theatre Company’s upcoming production of HARVEY by Mary Chase. An open audition is being held at Plaza Theatre Company to cast the show on February 21st. HARVEY is being directed by Aaron Siler. Auditions are by appointment only which can be made by visiting plaza-theatre.com

Audition Preparation:
Auditioners will be asked to come with a short monologue or read cold from the script at the audition. Each auditioner should plan to spend about five minutes auditioning for the Director. A call back audition will be held on Wednesday February 23rd, 7 to 10pm. Those auditioners who the Director wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition which may last up to three hours time.

About the Play:
Harvey tells the story of an affable man named Elwood P. Dowd and his unseen to all but Elwood, presumably imaginary friend Harvey, a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall rabbit. When Elwood starts to introduce Harvey to guests at a society party, his society-obsessed sister, Veta, has seen as much of his eccentric behavior as she can tolerate. She decides to have him committed to spare her daughter Myrtle Mae and their family from future embarrassment. Comedy ensues when the folks at the Sanitarium have Veta committed instead of Elwood. This is the play on which the famous movie starring James Stewart is based.

Rehearsal and Performance dates:
Rehearsals for HARVEY will commence on Monday, Febraury 28th and continue thru opening the show on Friday, April 22nd. The show will play every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30pm and Saturday afternoons at 3pm thru May 14th.

About the Theatre:
Plaza Theatre Company is a non-profit community theatre located at 111S. Main in Cleburne, TX. While performers are provided complimentary tickets and other considerations, they are not compensated financially as Plaza operates as a community theatre.

Cast breakdown of avaliable roles:

Ethel Chauvenet – an old friend of the family. She is a member of the town’s social circle, which Veta wants Myrtle to break into, and so they both flatter her and curry her favor.

Betty Chumley (the doctor’s wife) – more concerned with socializing than with science: told that her husband has to examine a patient, she tells him, “Give a little quick diagnosis, Willie — we don’t want to be late to the party.”

Dr. William B. Chumley – an esteemed psychiatrist and the head of the sanitarium, “Chumley’s Rest,” to which Veta has taken Elwood. He is a difficult, exacting man, feared by his subordinates, unwilling to tolerate his mistakes.

Elwood P. Dowd – the central character of the play, a friendly eccentric who spends his days and nights in the taverns of his unnamed town. Elwood’s best friend is Harvey, an invisible six and a half-foot-tall rabbit. The play leaves open several possibilities regarding exactly what Harvey is, whether he is a figment of Elwood’s imagination, as the psychiatrists would like to believe, or he is, as Elwood asserts, a supernatural being known as a pooka.

Judge Omar Gaffney – an old family friend of the Dowds, a representative of the people in town who are accustomed to seeing Elwood talking to Harvey and who do not think anything of it.

Miss Johnson – listed in the Cast of Characters as “a cateress,” but her dialog in the play is tagged “Maid.” She only appears briefly in the first act: when Veta asks if she has seen the guest list, she says, “No, I haven’t Mrs. Simmons,” and leaves promptly.

Nurse Ruth Kelly – a sympathetic character, a pretty young woman who appears to have some sort of love/hate relationship with Dr. Sanderson.

E. J. Lofgren – Cab driver who makes Veta realize that the treatment that is supposed to make Elwood stop seeing Harvey might drain him of his kind personality.

Dr. Lyman Sanderson – young, for a psychiatrist, but very qualified — Dr. Chumley has picked him out of the twelve possible assistants that he tried. He is just as infatuated with Nurse Kelly as she is with him, but he only reveals his concern indirectly.

Myrtle – a young woman, the daughter of Veta. The main reason why she and her mother are concerned about their standing in the community is that they both are concerned that Myrtle find a man to marry.

Veta Louise Simmons – Elwood’s sister, an important character in this play because she joins the play’s two opposing forces, logic and imagination.

Wilson – the muscle of Chumley’s Rest, a devoted orderly responsible for handling the patients who will not cooperate voluntarily.

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