Archive for March, 2012

Photos from Plaza Theatre Company’s production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE

This is an album of photos from Plaza Theatre Company’s 2012 production of The Drowsy Chaperone. The show is now playing thru April 12th and tickets are available for most performances. Further information is available by visiting plaza-theatre.com or by calling the Plaza Box office at 817-202-0600. Enjoy the photos.

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The Official Cast List for Plaza Theatre Company’s production of GUYS & DOLLS

We were thrilled by the amazing turnout of talent for our upcoming production of GUYS & DOLLS. Thank you so much to all who chose to audition. It was a very difficult decision, but here is the cast we’ve arrived at for PlazaCo’s production of GUYS & DOLLS. (roles double-cast where noted)

Nicely Nicely Johnson – Aaron Siler
Benny Southstreet – Michael Durington
Rusty Charlie – Mark McKee
Sister Sarah – Shoshana Cook, Emily Warwick
Arvide Abernathy – Jay Cornils
Harry the Horse – Daniel Robinson
Lt. Brannigan – Bob Beck
Nathan Detroit – Ben Phillips
Angie the Ox – Justin Diyer
Liver Lips Louie – Nathan Glenn
Adelaide – Tina Barrus, Camille Shaw
Sky Masterson – Aaron Lett, JaceSon Barrus
General Cartwright – Tonya Laree
Big Jule – Luke Hunt
Society Max – Mitchell Moore, Lloyd Ekpo
Hot Box Girls – Rachel Hunt, Stefanie Glenn, Suzi Hanford, Stacey Greenawalt King / Tabitha Barrus
Agatha – Hannah Midkiff
Salvation Army Band – Jamie Dugger, Kennedy Styron, Lindsay Spano

GUYS & DOLLS is under the direction of Jay Lewis with Assistant Direction by Shauna Lewis, Musical Direction by Karyn Martin, Choreography by Jennifer Leyva and Stage Management by Cessany Ford. The production will open at Plaza Theatre Company on May 18th and play thru June 23rd.

A spectacular review of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE from the Star Group Newspapers

It’s amazing isn’t it? That two critics can see the same exact production on the same exact night and come away with a completely different perspective. We are grateful that this review by Amy Wolff Sorter of The Star Group Newspapers lauds the excellent work of Director and Star Kyle Macy. While this weekend for the show is Sold Out, there are still tickets starting with next weekends shows. Do yourself a favor and come catch this laugh-a-minute musical comedy. You’ll be glad ya did. 817-202-0600

_______________ THE DROWSY CHAPERONE _______________

The Drowsy Chaperone will keep you awake laughing
By Amy Wolff Sorter

Mention the musical The Drowsy Chaperone to anyone, and the reaction could range from a polite smile to huh? This is because The Drowsy Chaperone is one of those best-kept-secret, Tony-award-winning musicals.

The show, written by Lisa Lambert, Greg Morrison, Bob Martin and Don McKellar, isn’t one of overly advertised productions (think Spiderman ). On Broadway, it closed after 674 performances. In London, it lasted fewer than 100 performances. In Canada and Australia, the show had similarly restricted runs. It also tours from time to time, but isn’t a chestnut in a lot of theater s repertoires. Possibly one reason for this is because the production is billed as an homage to American musicals of the Jazz Age. As a result, you might walk into the show thinking it’ll consist of singers, dressed in period costumes, standing around microphones and singing old jazz tunes.

In truth, you’ll walk out of the show with your stomach hurting from laughing too hard.

The Drowsy Chaperone opens with a Man in The Chair, who, longing for the good old days of Broadway musicals, invites the audience to listen to his vinyl recording of The Drowsy Chaperone, considered a blockbuster musical in its time (1928). As he listens and expounds, the cast from the musical magically appears in his apartment and proceeds to enact a show of extremely high farce, concerning a showgirl who wants to give up her career to marry a wealthy man, but whose producer doesn’t want her to leave. Said producer is threatened by two gangsters (disguised as pastry chefs), belonging to the producer’s investor. To save himself, the producer enlists the help of a bumbling Latin lover to seduce the showgirl, to stop the wedding and . . . well, you get the picture.

Suffice it to say that this musical within a comedy offers everything from mistaken identities, to a lot of misunderstandings, to spit takes, to appropriately enough a drowsy chaperone (read: tipsy chaperone).

The Plaza Theatre production starts with a disclaimer, in the program, by show’s director Kyle Macy. He points out that he was honored to be asked to direct the play. But when the Plaza Theatre producers asked him to take on the role of Man in the Chair as well, he balked. Directing others is tricky, but to do that and direct yourself is crazy, he writes. Good thing for the Plaza Theatre audience is that the producers wore down Macy. He took on the role of director and Man in the Chair and does an outstanding job at both.

Man in the Chair is not a bystander’s role – he is the show. He sets the tenor, tone and speed of the show. In using his directorial eye and skillfully breaking through the fourth wall, Macy helps the audience experience this farce-laden musical. And, in wearing his actor hat, Macy drops bits and pieces of his own sad life of Man in the Chair, offering reasons as to why he can only find happiness amid his vinyl collection of antique musicals.

Another good thing for the audience is that Macy works with a terrific cast. Everyone, from showgirl Janet Van De Graaf (Daron Cockerell); to suitor Robert Martin (Jonathan Metting); to overanxious best man George (Doug Henry), portray the musical within this show in broad, satiric brushstrokes, complete with exquisite comic timing.

The women shine particularly well. Cockerell along with Trich Zaitoon (Mrs. Tottendale); Jaye Jenny Smith (who does an outstanding job as ditzy wannabe leading lady Kitty); Milette Siler (who portrays the Tipsy Chaperone, double-cast with Caitlin Davis), and Davis herself in the role as Trix the Aviatrix (which she doubles with Jill Baker), are all terrific singers with amazing vocal ranges and a lot of power.

Cockerell plays Van De Graaf broadly, without bordering into overdone. Zaitoon (who had audiences laughing in Plaza Theatre s recent production of The Foreigner ) has some amazingly funny bits opposite Luke Hunt, who portrays the straight man butler to perfection.

This is not to ignore the men. Metting’s Robert Martin does a great job combining a wistful passion for his showgirl fiancé with a determination to do the right thing when misunderstandings between himself and the lovely Van De Graaf ensue. Gangster No. 1 and Gangster No. 2 (portrayed by JaceSon Barrus and G. Aaron Siler) provoke laughter with their pun-happy, if somewhat threatening, dialogue to the perpetually concerned Feldzeig, portrayed by Jamie Long. And as Latin lover Aldopho, Ben Phillips mugs, arm waves and verbalizes the character to hilarious results.

But in discussing the men as well as the women we need to return to Macy. At the risk of gushing, he made it look easy. He pulled together a difficult production aplomb which is not an easy task. The Plaza Theatre producers made the right call in wearing him down and insisting he act and direct. The only thing remaining is for you to see it yourself. But be warned: Your stomach will hurt.

The Drowsy Chaperone is presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Saturdays through April 14. Tickets $15 for adults, $13 for age 65-plus and students, and $12 for children age 12 and under are available 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday at the Plaza Theatre, 111 S. Main in Cleburne, or by phone at 817-202-0600.

A very nice review of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE from The Column by John Garcia

We’ve received our first review for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE from The Column by John Garcia. Overall it is a very solid recommendation of a show that we are very proud of. This week the show has a few single seats left for Friday and Saturday night, is sold out Saturday afternoon and has about 20 seats for tonight. We are grateful to our very hard working cast and crew for presenting such a wonderful show and look forward to seeing you soon. Read on for The Column’s DROWSY review.

Reviewed by Richard S. Blake, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

_________________THE DROWSY CHAPERONE _________________

Reviewed by Richard S. Blake, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

Plaza Theatre Company presents an entertaining evening with its production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Drowsy Chaperone debuted in 1998 at The Rivoli in Toronto and opened on Broadway May 1st, 2006. The show won the Tony Award for Best Book and Best Score. It started as a spoof of old musicals, written by friends for the wedding of book co-writer Martin and his wife, Janet. The show had major productions in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, London and Japan, as well as two North American tours.

The show starts with a present-day musical theatre fanatic eager to tell you about his favorite Broadway musical – The Drowsy Chaperone. He’s an ultimate theatre fan and “Drowsy” is his guilty pleasure. To chase his blues away, a modern day musical theatre addict known simply as Man in Chair drops the needle on his favorite LP – the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone.

From the crackle of his hi-fi, the uproariously funny musical magically bursts to life on stage, telling the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to get married, her producer who sets out to sabotage the nuptials, her chaperone, the debonair groom, the dizzy chorine, the Latin lover and a pair of gangsters who double as pastry chefs. Man in Chair’s infectious love of The Drowsy Chaperone speaks to anyone who has ever been transported
by the theatre.

Direction by Kyle Macy is generally on par, but does lack some scenic presentations. Plaza is in the round, which can pose difficulties for a director but Mr. Macy generally handles that aspect well. However, some of the actors’ blocking and stage “pictures” are a bit awkward. Many times you are looking around the entire space to see what is going on and that tends to detract from the main action of the scene. Mr. Macy does have a talented cast but in some cases that talent is lost in the blocking. However, entrances and scenes flow and keep you engaged throughout the performance.

Mr. Macy also plays the lead role of Man in the Chair. His portrayal and skill as an actor is evident and he has great character timing. Mr. Macy engages you and keeps the story moving very well. It’s a difficult choice to star and/or direct a production, and in choosing both, his skill as an actor overpowered his direction of the production.

It’s a difficult choice to star and/or direct a production, and in choosing both, Mr. Macy’s skill as an actor overpowered his direction of the production. As a Producer and Director myself, it is my opinion a director should not perform in his/her own production, especially a leading role. It comes off as if the director is starring in the production with “other people” on the stage to assist. Choosing to perform a leading role in your own production also muddles the focus of the director’s commitment to a productions artistic merit, quality and presentation.

It’s not impossible, but extremely difficult NOT to worry about the acting portion of your responsibility if you’re also directing, especially in a large musical production such as this one. In this case, Mr. Macy even goes into great detail in his “Director’s Notes” in the program for the show, explaining being “pre-cast” by the producers and initially saying no, then eventually “caving-in to the pressure” and saying yes. In this case, I believe Mr. Macy should have stuck to his original decision of “no, I’ll only direct” because it did affect his skill as a director in this production.

Music direction by Kristin Spires is well done and consistent. She has some powerful singers and a large ensemble to balance this show and Ms. Spires directs them well. This is a musical about a musical and Ms. Spires uses the strengths of her vocalists to great advantage throughout the entire production.

Choreography by Eddie Floresca is spot on and with such a large cast his use of the space is executed nicely. Sometimes less is better with musical dance scenes and Mr. Floresca shows that restraint. When a number calls for all-out-dancing, he chooses wisely and his cast executes his well-designed choreography wonderfully.

The costume design by Tina Barrus is consistently accurate with the period and works well with all the movement onstage. Her designs never seem out of place, uncomfortable or mismatched. Ms. Barrus provides wonderful details to the dresses and accessories for the women, and the men looked dapper, well fit and perfectly matched throughout the production.

Jaceson P. Barrus’ set design works in the space. Wonderful detail is given to the side apartment kitchen and the main performance space is lightly laid out with just the right amount of pieces. This is a wise choice given the stage and the large cast.

The video integration with a large projection on one wall also assists with the flow of the story. The smaller LCD television on another wall seems to be a bit out of place. Adding a few more around the entire space would help in viewing the great “slides” and comedic video moments. I do have to give high credit to the use of a VERY large set piece that is integral to this production. I won’t give it away, but any theatre that produces this musical takes on a huge task getting this element right. Mr. Barrus does and does it with style!

There are some places within the acting space that do not light the performers quite brightly enough but the lighting design by Cameron Barrus is generally executed well and doesn’t distract from the action.

Sound design by G. Aaron Siler is crisp, consistent and never distracts from the performance. Sound operators did miss microphone entrances and tended to struggle once in a while with the balance of the music and vocals.

The entire cast of this production does an excellent job on stage. Everyone is confident, entertaining and presents wonderful character choices. Never once does someone overpower, upstage or inappropriately take focus from another. Intimate scenes are wonderfully focused and large group numbers are executed perfectly. Macy cast this show very well and the talent brought together blends seamlessly. It is a pleasure to watch and hear this cast perform and they will not disappoint. Some standout performances were;

Daron Cockrell as Janet Van De Graaff. Ms. Cockrell has a powerful voice and uses it splendidly on stage. Her control is superb and always commands the stage. She is exciting to watch!

Robert Martin played by Jonathan Metting does a wonderful portrayal of his character. His vocals are crisp, exciting and a pleasure to hear. Mr. Metting’s acting choices work very well and keep you engaged throughout the production.

The Underling played by Luke Hunt offers some great comedic moments to the production. His dead-pan looks, timing and interactions on stage are simply perfect.

Aldolpho played by Ben Phillips keeps you laughing at his every move. His portrayal is engaging, never over-the-top or distracting. Mr. Phillips does an amazing job with his role.

Overall, Plaza Theatre Company produces an entertaining musical that will make you smile, laugh and leave the theatre humming more than one catchy tune.

Reviewed by Richard S. Blake, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

Audition Notice – GUYS & DOLLS at Plaza Theatre Company

Audition Information for GUYS & DOLLS at Plaza Theatre Company

Available first audition dates: March 19th and 20th, 2012

Call backs will be held Wednesday March 21st from 7 to 10pm

Auditions held at the Plaza Academy Fine Arts & Dance Studio at 221 S. Mill St., Cleburne, TX

Directed by Jay Lewis
Musical Director: Karyn Martin
Choreographer: Jennifer Leyva
Stage Manager: Cessany Ford
Assistant Director: Shauna Lewis

AN AUDITION APPOINTMENT IS REQUIRED:

Click to make an appointment: http://www.appointmentquest.com/provider/2040169233?schedule=guysanddollsauditions

Plaza Theatre Company pleased to announce auditions for it’s upcoming production of GUYS & DOLLS. The open audition is being held at Plaza Theatre Company to cast the show on March 19th and 20th, 2012 . Auditions are by appointment only. A Call-back audition will be held on Wednesday March 21st from 7 to 10pm.

ABOUT THE SHOW:

First performed on Broadway in 1950, and later a film in 1955, Guys and Dolls is a musical based on the Damon Runyon books of the New York underworld. It tells the story of a gambler, Nathan Detroit who runs a “floating” crap game, much to the disgust of his long suffering fiancee of 14 years, the Hot Box night club singer, Adelaide Adams. To raise the money to pay for a venue for his crap game, he bets $1000 on what he believes is a sure thing. Sky Masterson, a high rolling, suave gambler boasts that he could have any girl he wants. So Nathan bets him that he can’t get the local “Save A Soul” missionary, Sarah Brown to come to dinner with him in Havana. She is reluctant, so Sky in turn guarantees that he will provide 12 “genuine sinners” for her midnight prayer meeting in return for dinner. So, Sky needs sinners to win his bet, Sarah needs to save her mission, Adelaide wants to turn her 14 year engagement into a wedding and Nathan is just trying to keep his crap game afloat, keep Adelaide happy and not get arrested by the local cop or shot by a visiting gangster. This story sets the stage for a range of musical numbers including, Fugue for Tinhorns (I got the horse right here), Guys and Dolls, Adelaide’s Lament, Bushel and a Peck, If I Were a Bell, Sit Down Your Rocking the Boat, Luck be a Lady, Marry the Man Today and the love songs, I’ll Know (…when my love comes along) and I’ve Never Been in Love Before. The show also provides a great showcase for female dancers in the Hot Box Nightclub acts of Bushel and a Peck and Take Back Your Mink (think Rockettes style) and for the men there is The Crapshooters Dance, the lead in to Luck be a Lady, (think West Side Story dance style). Both male and female dancers get to use their Latin American skills in the Havana dance club scene.

Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser

ABOUT THE THEATRE:

Plaza Theatre Company is a 158 seat theatre-in-the-round located at 111 S. Main in Cleburne, TX. The Company produces 10 shows a year usually in the style of family-friendly comedies and musicals. PlazaCo opened in November of 2006 and is currently producing it’s 49th show. The Company has been the proud recipient of over 25 Column Awards including winning “Best Musical” two years running during the past two seasons in addition to recently being named “Best Theatre Group” by the WFAA A-List for 2011. Further information about PlazaCo is available by visiting www.plaza-theatre.com

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS:

Those who choose to audition are asked to come prepared to sing 32 bars of a showtune in the style of the show.  An accompanist or CD player will be provided but each auditioner will be asked to provide their own sheet music or CD.  A brief cold reading will also be required at the initial audition.

If asked for callback, a brief dance combination will be taught so please wear clothes that are comfortable to move in.  A head shot and resume are requested.

PRODUCTION INFORMATION:

GUYS & DOLLS will open at Plaza Theatre Company on May 18th and play through June 23rd, 2012. The show plays every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30pm with Saturday matinees at 3pm. Double casting of some roles MAY be available to accommodate scheduling.

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS:

Nathan Detroit — Reckless and adorable gambler; Adelaide’s would-be better half. Baritone D – High F.

Miss Adelaide — Comic classic showgirl; Nathan’s long-suffering fiancee of 14 years. Mezzo A – D (belt).

Sky Masterson — Handsome, suave gambler who will bet on anything. Baritone B – E Flat.

Sarah Brown — Prim Salvation Army officer. Beautiful foil to Sky’s machismo. Soprano B – High A.

Nicely-Nicely Johnson — A never-give-up gambler. Tenor D flat to High B flat.

Arvide Abernathy — Sarah’s grandfather – a gentle soul. Baritone D – High F.

Benny Southstreet — Small-time gambler with big ideas. Baritone D-flat – High G.

Rusty Charley — Hangs out with Nicely and Benny – another small-time gambler. Baritone D-flat – High G.

General Matilda B. Cartwright — Salvation Army matron – tough bird. Mezzo Soprano, E – High A.

Non-Singing Principals:

Harry the Horse: A hoodlum out of Brooklyn. Tough guy.

Big Jule: Chicago mobster with a snub nosed revolver and a short temper.

Angie the Ox: Another thug.

Lt. Branigan: Irish cop taking charge on his beat.

Chorus (Looking for at least 6 men and 6 women)

LOTS for both singing and dancing chorus in this show!

Gamblers, Cuban partiers, Hot Box Dolls, Gangsters, Mission Band members.

Official PlazaCo Press Release – THE DROWSY CHAPERONE

Plaza Theatre Company to present the recent Broadway smash THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, opening March 16th

March 6th, 2012

Plaza Theatre Company is proud to announce the opening of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE on March 16th, 2012. The production will play Plaza’s newly renovated theatre at 111 S. Main Street in Cleburne, TX opening March 16th and playing through April 14th, 2012. The show will be the 52nd produced by Plaza Theatre Company since it’s inception in November of 2006.

This recent Tony Award winner for Best Musical on Broadway revolves around one musical theatre fan’s obsession with a fictional show from the 1920s – ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’. As he listens to the record, the characters come to life in his apartment. This is the story of a Broadway actress, Janet Van De Graaaff, who wants to marry the debonair Robert Martin and give up her stage career. Janet’s producer, Mr. Feldzieg, must stop the wedding because if she quits show business, he’ll lose his job! Further, gangsters threaten Mr. Feldzieg since if Janet quits, they lose their investment. All of this comes to life out of the imagination of ‘The Man in the Chair’ as 1920’s mayhem and mischief ensue. An old-fashioned laugh-a-minute crowd pleaser.

“We are thrilled to be among the first in North Texas to present this fabulous show”, said G. Aaron Siler, Plaza’s Director of Operations. “We are always looking for opportunities to present new material to our patrons and THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is the perfect blend of funny and fun. The show was a hit on Broadway and we know it’ll be a hit here at PlazaCo”.

The Cast List of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is: (Double Cast where noted)

The Man in the Chair – Kyle Macy
The Chaperone – Caitlan Davis / Milette Siler
Robert Martin – Jonathan Metting
Janet VanDerGraff – Daron Cockerell
Mr. Feldzig – Jamie Long
Kitty – Jaye-Jenny Smith
Mrs. Tottendale – Trich Zaitoon
Underling – Luke Hunt
Aldolpho – Ben Phillips
George – Doug Henry
Trix/Ensemble – Jill Baker / Caitlan Davis
Gangster #1 – JaceSon P. Barrus
Gangster #2 – Aaron Siler
Ensemble – Justin Diyer
Ensemble – Kasi Hallowell
Ensemble – Julia Ekpo
Ensemble – Lloyd Ekpo
Ensemble – Emily Warwick
Superintendent – Jay Cornils / Jay Lewis

The production is under the Direction of Kyle Macy with Musical Direction by Kristin Spires, Choreography by Eddie Floresca, Stage Management by Stefanie Glenn and Assistant Direction by Cessany Ford. The show will open on Friday March 16th at 7:30pm and will play every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening thru April 14th at 7:30pm with Saturday matinees every Saturday afternoon 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. Further information is available by visiting the Plaza website at http://www.plaza-theatre.com

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