Archive for July, 2011

Casting Announcement: TREASURE ISLAND at Plaza Theatre Company

We were amazed by the level of talent that came for auditions for TREASURE ISLAND. And the cast we’ve assembled is equally impressive. Here then is the offical Cast List for Plaza Theatre Company’s production of TREASURE ISLAND (some roles double cast where noted) –

Actor One – Jim Hawkins………………………………………………….Cooper Rodgers
Actor Two – Long John Silver, Jim’s Father…………………………..Luke Hunt
Actor Three – Capt. Flint, Dr. Livesey………………………………….JaceSon Barrus
Actor Four – Squire Trelawney, The Bailiff……………………………Greg Burton
Actor Five – Capt. Smollett, Inn Guest…………………………………Jay Cornils
Actor Six – Rev. Mainwaring, Ben Gunn……………………………….Jonathan Kennedy
Actor Seven – Anne Bonny……………………………………………….Jill Ethridge, Caroline Riveria
Actor Eight – Mary Read…………………………………………………..Tabitha Barrus, JoAnne Gracey
Actor Nine – Bind Pew, Calico Jack…………………………………….Aaron Lett
Actor Ten – George Merry, Bailiff’s Son……………………………….Ray Blanton
Actor Eleven – Jemmy Rathbone, Ezekiel Hazard, Cut Purse…..Auston McIntosh
Actor Twelve – Billy Bones, Pirate Band……………………………..G. Aaron Siler
Actor Thirteen – Blackdog, Israel Hands…………………………….Nathaniel Harper
Actor Fourteen – Tom Morgan, Bristol Sailor, Boy/ Barrow……Devlin Pollock
Actor Fifteen – Justice Death……………………………………………Solomon Abah
Actor Sixteen – Bristol Dock Begger, Josiah Bland, Inn Guest…Stan Denman, Mickey Parsons
Actor Seventeen – Inn Guest, Bristol Sailor…………………………Cody Vernon
Actor Eighteen – Jim’s Mother………………………………………….Kristi Taylor
Actor Nineteen – Widow Drews…………………………………………Emily Warwick
Actor Twenty – Pirate band lead instrumentalist………………….Parker Barrus
Actor Twenty One – Inn Guest, Bristol Docks Girl…………………Dora Hunt

The production of TREASURE ISLAND is a regional premiere and will play at Plaza Theatre Company from September 16th thru August 8th. It will be under the direction of Aaron Siler with Stage Management by Dora Hunt. More information is available by visiting plaza-theatre.com

Another Great Review of JOSEPH

We’ve received another wonderful review of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT – this time from Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers. The show plays until July 30th and most shows after this weekend still  have availabilility – so don’t despair, there’s still time. Please reserve as soon as you can though as we’ve added every possible extra performance that we possibly could to meet demand. Call 817-202-0600 to reserve. Until then, enjoy the review below.

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Joseph and his dreamcoat are amazing
by PAUL GNADT

keenestar@thestargroup.com

Amazing, indeed.

Yet, something is missing: a seat belt.

As you enter the theatre, you’re handed a program. However, you should also be given something to strap you in your seat for this fast-paced, energetic and what-will-happen-next explosion of sight and sound that is the  Plaza Theatre Company’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” playing through July 30 at the Plaza Theatre in Cleburne.

How 33 adult actors and some combination of 70 juveniles dance, jump and gyrate around the Plaza’s 160-seat theater-in-the-round stage floor is a testament to the direction of the husband-and-wife team of Tina and JaceSon Barrus — who find time to act in the production, she as a wife of one of Joseph’s brothers, he as Naphtali — and choreographer Tabitha Barrus, who uses every nook and cranny of the theatre plus four wooden ramps, large wooden blocks and four mini-trampolines.

It only lasts one hour and 15 minutes, plus a 15-minute intermission.

There have been multiple methods used to present this multi-color musical, but instead of contrived multi-media gadgets, the Plaza relies strictly on the singing and dancing talents of the actors to deliver Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music and the wonderful lyrics of Tim Rice.

And one other ingredient: the costume designing skills of Tina Barrus — yes, the director — whose clever costumes and countless costume changes help tell the story, which is as well known as Sunday School.

“Joseph” is the biblical story — starting in Genesis 37 — of Joseph (mellow-voiced Gregory Gerardi in the performance I attended, double cast with Jonathan Metting, who can also sing) who is the favorite of Jacob’s (Tom Cockerell) 12 sons.

Joseph is a dreamer, and gets the music started with “Any Dream Will Do,” which also ties everything together as the finale.

When Jacob gives Joseph a multicolored coat, his jealous older brothers plot to kill him, but instead sell him to a passing tribe who take him to Egypt where he becomes the slave of a wealthy man, Potiphar (played by Kyle Macy, who also plays brother Dan. Throughout the performance Dan carries a stuffed sheep. It’s funny when you see it).

The brothers tell Jacob that Joseph has been killed, conveying the message in song with “One More Angel in Heaven,” a country-western hoedown-type number that lets you know this is not your typical one-genre musical. Look and listen for pop, rock-n-roll and calypso, too.

Over time, Joseph becomes the chief overseer of Potiphar’s household, but when Potiphar’s wife (double cast as Kasi Hollowell when I attended and Tina Barrus) tries to seduce him, he lands in jail and, while there, interprets the dreams of his two cell mates, former servants of the Pharaoh, who is having dreams no one can explain.

One of Joseph’s cell mates, when freed, tells the Pharaoh about Joseph and his dream interpretation skills.

The Pharaoh (played hilariously as Elvis by John Garcia, who also plays brother Simeon) summons Joseph and tells him his dream involving seven healthy ears of corn and seven dead ears of corn. Joseph warns of an impending famine. The Pharaoh frees Joseph and he becomes the most powerful man in Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh.

Back home, the famine has caught up with Joseph’s brothers, who hear there is still food in Egypt and decide to go there.

Along the way, the ensemble sings “Go Go, Go Joseph,” a rousing, robust number that has the entire audience head bopping and foot stomping.

In Egypt, Joseph gives the band of brothers food and sends them away, but only after he secretly hides a golden cup in Benjamin’s sack. As the brothers try to leave, Joseph stops them and asks about the “stolen cup.” Each brother empties his sack, and it appears that Benjamin has the cup.

When Joseph accuses Benjamin of robbery, the other brothers beg for mercy in song for Benjamin with “Benjamin Calypso,” asking that Benjamin be set free and volunteering themselves as prisoners. Seeing the decent side of their natures, Joseph tells them who he really is with another song, “Joseph All The Time.”

The whole thing is held together by singing narrators: soprano, Daron Cockerell, and an alto, double cast with Caitlan Davis, the night I attended, and Faith Merrifield.

Cockerell and Davis can sing, and their solos and duets are outstanding. They also don different wardrobes to become members of the ensemble.

With assistant direction by Luke Hunt (who also plays brother Isachar), musical direction by Bree Cockerell, stage management by Cessany Ford assisted by Daniel Scott Robinson (who has double roles as brother Gad and the jailed butler), and light and sound designed  by G. Aaron Siler, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Saturdays through July 30.

Tickets — $15 for adults, $13 for ages 65 and older, $13 for high school and college students and $12 for age 13 and under – are on sale during business hours at the Plaza Theatre box office, 111 S. Main Street, Cleburne, or by calling 817-202-0600.

See it. It’s amazing.

A Thanks for the “Shout-Out” in The Column by John Garcia

  

As many of our Plaza patrons may be aware, we have been fortunate to have had some success at The Column Awards over the last few years. Well, we’re so thrilled that the founder of The Column, Mr. John Garcia, is appearing in a Plaza production for the 1st time. He is appearing as one of Joseph’s brothers and as Pharaoh and those who have seen the show already will attest that his performance is one of the standout parts of the show.

The Column, besides being an organization that recognizes the best of professional and amateur theatre in the Metroplex, also serves as a location for information about shows and auditions at all DFW venues. This email goes out to over 17,000 recipients every week. Well yesterday, John included the following paragraphs in his weekly update:

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Speaking of shows you should also-no you MUST take a trip to Cleburne this weekend to see JOSEPH….
DREAMCOAT at Plaza Theatre Company!

JOSEPH..DREAMCOAT has now opened and now we are settling for the long run. We learned during tech week that is the largest cast in Plaza’s history. The company comprises of 11 brothers, 11 wives, Joseph, two narrators, Jacob, his wife, a dance corp, teen chorus, a children’s chorus-oh and a stuffed sheep named Dirk! That is close to 60 bodies on stage by the time we get to the megamix! I’m still learning names! And we’re in the round!

I wish I had a video camera to tape the organized chaos and frenzy wildness that goes on backstage. Many of us have major costumes changes that need to take place in less than 5 measures of music! And I’m not talking about taking one costume piece and putting on another. We are talking head to toe full costume changes! We are all backstage stripping off those costumes like they are on fire and then quickly changing into another-then race back on stage with grace, ease, and a smile on our faces.

For me to go from Pharaoh back into the brother requires two women and myself to transform from the king to a brother in about 4-5 measures of music. I’ve got Noxzema stinging my eyes by the time I get back on stage because I have wipe off all that make up off. I know I look like Tammy Faye after a 24 hour pledge telecast telethon! These two great women (four of them rotate nightly to help me) get under my skirt to stuff costume up in my black spandex pants, tear off costumes pieces, slab noexma on my face to take off the Egyptian make up, etc. It is scary each night trying to do that as fast as possible. Let’s just say I’ve gotten to become quite close to those ladies due to all that stripping, groping, and touching. Needless to say the children stare at us with their tiny eyes wide open in utter fear. LOL.

Normally a theater company would not costume that many people beyond one outfit. But our costume designer Tina Barrus and amazing dedicated team of seamstresses worked like caffeine addicted elves on all our costumes. Her husband JaceSon really had his hands full. Again think massive large cast. But then his poor wife (Tina) badly injured her back. So he had to take the reins in directing and staging the show while she recuperated. There were some nights where if I were in his shoes I would have lost it and spewed out a sea of obscenities. But he NEVER once lost his cool. I was VERY, VERY impressed how he handled this massive cast and what had to be unbelievable pressure. I learned a lot from him about how to be cool under pressure.

The cast I must say is one of the hardest working companies I’ve had the pleasure of being on stage with. Lots of laughs-both on and off stage. Greg Gerardi (one of the Josephs) is the one I carpool with and we have developed a very close bond and friendship that I will treasure beyond closing night. This show marks his Texas/DFW stage debut! Jonathan Metting (one of the Josephs) and I actually met years ago in a very funny way. But we’ll leave it at that! LOL. Both guys do a super job in the show-as does the full company.

The teens are hoot. There are several of them that crack me up (Midkiff brothers!) and the dance corp rocks (Garrett..Remember…gold lame is slippery! LOL). The children are all sweet, but there are some that just melt your heart like butter on a skillet. They are just too adorable. We adults all have one or two children assigned to us for the finale, and one of mine is this tiny boy who just goes full out in the staging. He always runs up to me for the dramatic finale and yells “Pharaoh!”. Oops. No, I’m brother now dear! LOL. It’s just so cute to watch him dance in the finale. Plus it’s nice to finally be taller than someone else in a show! Over half the brothers in the cast are like 6 feet and over-so I’m like a hobbit in the woods with those tall men! LOL.

I sincerely hope you will come see the show. The drive is worth it, I promise you. I’m so proud of this cast & their dedication to the show is something to marvel at. And everyone is there to support everyone.

Last night was Mimi’s birthday (she’s the sheep we attack in the show & 5 yrs old)-and they made homemade cupcakes for her birthday. She brought one up to me and said, “This one I made special for you because it has all these sparkles on it!” Come on, you know that has got to warm your heart! Her daddy got her a sparkled make up case to which she said to me, “Now I have one just like yours!”. Yep, she’s a theater kid. LOL.

Thus is my personal invitation to all of you (including my theater friends-and you know who you are!) to come see the show! I can get you a discount too-so email me about it!

And here’s the best part-the show runs about an hour and 30 minutes long! It goes by fast! You can’t beat that!

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Thanks John for the kind words. We’re loving you in JOSEPH and appreciate all you do for the local theatre community.

Casting Announcement – Smoke on the Mountain

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the Cast List for it’s upcoming production of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN. The show will play at Plaza Theatre Company from August 5th thru September 10th and is under the direction of JaceSon Barrus with Musical Direction by Cheri Mega, Assistand Direction by Solomon Abah and Stage Management by Jay Cornils. The cast is as follows and is double cast where noted.

Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe – Jonathan Metting
Burl Sanders – Kevin Poole
Vera Sanders – Darcy Farrington
Stanley Sanders – JaceSon P. Barrus
June Sanders – Camille Shaw
Denise Sanders – Tabitha Barrus, Kasi Hollowell
Dennis Sanders – Parker Barrus, Andrew Guzman
Myrtle – Taffy Geisel