Archive for March, 2013

So What’s The Deal With [TITLE OF SHOW]? An Artistic Director’s Perspective.

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Hello. My name is JaceSon Barrus. I am one of the Co-Producers at Plaza Theatre Company and I serve as Artistic Director for our theatre group. [TITLE OF SHOW] is our 62nd production here at Plaza Theatre Company. During our run of nearly six years we’ve produced many classics, some newer material, had a lot of laughs and enjoyed our share of growth and success, both financially and artistically. We’ve watched as the Company has won Awards and surpassed 1,100 Season Ticket holders annually, all in our small town just south of Fort Worth called Cleburne.

I think it is safe to say that no production from among our first 62 has engendered as strong a response, both negative and positive, as our current production of [TITLE OF SHOW]. Additionally, I have been asked many times some form of the question, “why this show?” So that is why I am contributing to this blog today: To address the question of “why this show” and perhaps to encourage those who may be on the fence to be willing to try something a little new.

As is the case with many small community theatre groups, those of us in charge wear many hats. We answer the phones, sell the tickets, build the sets and costumes, direct and act in the shows, sweep and vacuum the floors, clean the bathrooms, and address the complaints, just to name a few. Such is the case with me as I have worked the Will Call window for this show. Last Friday evening I was working the window when a patron came to pick up her tickets. She asked me for reassurance that the show would be enjoyable as she had brought some guests, and she had never heard of [TITLE OF SHOW]. She shared with me that some friends of hers had already seen the show and that they didn’t care for it. I tried to explain that while the show was a different style, that it still made for a quality experience and sent her in to the theatre. I’ll admit I was a little disheartened. Once the show began, my wife Tina and I ran an errand to the grocery store to pick up a few items for concessions. As we pushed our buggy down the aisle, a woman stopped us to tell us about her experience the night before at [TITLE OF SHOW]. She said she wanted to thank us for being willing to risk trying something new and different and that she hadn’t laughed so hard in years. I was amazed by how passionately she thanked us for producing this somewhat unknown musical.

I relate this story to illustrate a point – that folks are not all going to have the same taste. What one person found disappointing, another found absolutely fabulous. And that is the reason we try to offer a variety of styles with our Season of Shows – to appeal to a broad range of tastes. We have the unique privilege of offering 10 productions a year at PlazaCo. So as Artistic Director and manager of the artistic vision of the Company, it is my job to make sure we offer something special with every title we produce. I believe such is the case with [TITLE OF SHOW].

The show tells the story of four friends on a journey to creating a finished work of art. In this case, a musical. And not just any musical, one that will be different and unique from any other musical ever presented on Broadway. The story is real as it chronicles what actually happened in the process of getting to Broadway. And while some have suggested that a story about actors can only be interesting to actors I say not so. The message of struggle and perseverance eventually culminating in reaching an astonishing goal is universal and, in my view, a story worth telling.

Our last production at PlazaCo was the magnificent THE SOUND OF MUSIC. The show was very popular as we played to 99% capacity during the run of the show. We are extremely proud of that show, the cast and crew, which created such a beautiful and moving experience for our audience. And while we were thrilled at the popular response, I submit that selling tickets and making money isn’t our primary motivation. What drives us, just like the people in the story of [TITLE OF SHOW], is the desire to create something unique. And with this show, the story and the high level of the quality of the direction and the performances, I know we have achieved that.

I know you may disagree with my point-of-view. But how will you know unless you give it a try? I encourage you to give [TITLE OF SHOW] a chance – you just might end up like that lady in the grocery store saying, “I haven’t laughed so hard in years”.

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

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Casting Announcement: The official Cast List for DIRTY, ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS at Plaza Theatre Company

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Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the official Cast List for it’s upcoming production of DIRTY, ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. The Cast is listed below with doubles noted.

Christine Colgate – Kelly Nickell, Camille Shaw
Lawrence Jameson – Aaron Siler
Freddie Benson – Clyde Berry
Muriel Eubanks – Milette Siler
Andre Thibault – Michael Durington
Jolene Oakes – Stacey Greenawalt King
Croupier / Nikos – Solomon Abah
Lenore (Woman 1) / Nun – Kimberley Mickle
Sophia (Woman 2) / Dance Corps – Suzi Hanford, Rachel Hunt
Conductor / Dance Corps – Daniel Scott Robinson
Waiter / Hotel Mng. / Desk Clerk – Jay Cornils, Jamie Long
Woman 3 – Madison Heaps
Gerard / Dance Corps – Lloyd Ekpo
Docent / Sailor – David Goza
Usherette – Tina Barrus, Monica Glenn
Bellboy / Porter / Dance Corps – Justin Diyer
Renee / Dance Corps – Sara Blair
Maid – Dora Hunt

DIRTY, ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS will play at Plaza Theatre Company from May 17th thru June 22nd. The play is being directed by Luke Hunt with musical direction by Doug Henry, choreography by Rachel Hunt, stage management by Monica Glenn and assistant stage management by Dana Siler. Tickets are available by calling the PlazaCo Box Office at 817-202-0600 or by visiting www.plaza-theatre.com

[TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS at Plaza Theatre Company

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[TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS has entered it’s second week of production at Plaza Theatre Company – and it is proving to be the unique and completely original musical that PlazaCo producers had hoped it would be when they scheduled it for the 2013 Season. For every patron who tells us they found the story “strange” or “weird”, we have ten patrons saying they love that we’re presenting something completely “unique”, “new” and “modern”. [TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS is unlike any show yet produced at Plaza Theatre Company – and we think that’s a good thing.

Of course we love the classics here at PlazaCo, and we’ll continue putting our heart and soul into bringing our patronage shows of the style and quality of  THE SOUND OF MUSIC – which was a huge hit here last month. But we think that there is a place on our stage for newer works, and with [TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS we’ve brought something completely new and unique to our patronage. According to Jeremy Osborne of The Column by John Garcia:

“It is worth the drive to Cleburne to see [Title of Show] Apropos no matter where in the metroplex you call home. The production features fantastic performances that keep the audience engaged. Plaza Theatre Company has a reputation for putting on some of the highest quality shows in the region, and with this musical they continue building that reputation.”

Below are some fabulous photos of the show taken by Stacey Greenawalt King. Enjoy the photos, then give us a call at 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com to reserve.

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The Column by John Garcia’s Review of [TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS – by Jeremy Osborne

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We’ve received our first review of [TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS today. And while the writer of the review does question Plaza’s decision to produce this play, his praise of the quality of our production is immense. We are always very grateful for the critical perspective that The Column by John Garcia provides. And even though Mr. Osborne questions our decision to produce [TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS, we are thrilled with the quality of the production as well as the outstanding performances.

We are also very honored to have this exceptional play on our stage. Though we know we are taking a risk to present something outside of the “norm” for our audience, we feel the music and the message of [TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS is a story worth telling – and we stand by that decision. Read on for the review of [TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS by Jeremy William Osborne of The Column by John Garcia, and then make your reservations to see the show by visiting www.plaza-theatre.com or by calling 817-202-0600.

“Plaza Theatre Company has a reputation for putting on some of the highest quality shows in the region, and with this musical they continue building that reputation.” ~ Jeremy William Osborne of The Column by John Garcia

Reviewed performance on Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Theater Critic
For John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

_______________________[TITLE OF SHOW] APROPOS______________________

[Title of Show] is the mostly true story of two writers in New York, attempting to create a new, original musical in three weeks. They recruit two lady friends to help bring the show together. When the show is accepted to the New York Musical Theatre Festival and later produced off-Broadway, tensions rise between the four friends as artistic choices are weighed against commercial success.

[Title of Show] Apropos at Plaza Theatre Company is excellently presented and will make new fans out of anybody who hasn’t experienced the original, salty cast recording. For thoseIMG_5844 who have experienced the original version, changes made in the script can prove irritating.

The “Apropos” (or clean version) has been modified from the original by the authors for general audiences. However, there are some mis-steps made in the modifications. Clean up the language, of course, that’s understandable. Take out Heidi stripping down to her bra in the Festival Medley, that’s acceptable. However, the choice to leave, in the reference to whores in Nine People’s Favorite Things, while cutting any reference to the main characters’ homosexuality is baffling and offensive.

The implication is that whores are apropos but homosexuality is not. That decision, plus the irony of even putting on a show where the main theme is to not compromise integrity, highlighted in “Die Vampire, Die!” and “Nine People’s Favorite Things”, that is compromised for the sake of selling tickets to delicate audiences, is aggravating.

IMG_5836It is understandable a theatre in a small rural town in Texas would choose to play it safe and do a show that is more accessible to the local population. However, [Title of Show] is not a show that should be used in this way. If Plaza Theatre Company feels their audience could not accept the full version of [Title of Show], they should have chosen another show for their season rather than present the watered down version of an otherwise great musical.

Play choice and writing aside, [Title of Show] is excellent in every way and what we’ve come to expect from Plaza Theatre Company. The performance area is near vacant, as the script calls for only four chairs and a few props to be used in the most technically simple musical ever written. I wonder if giving G. Aaron Siler a set design credit in the script is meant to be an industry joke.

The direction is wonderful & uses every part of the space effectively. Even the most abstract scenes are choreographed simply but potently.IMG_5915

“Monkeys and Playbills” is the stand-out scene of the show, with Heidi and Susan taking on ethereal qualities, influencing Jeff and Hunter’s creative process.

The use of lighting, a multimedia video presentation, and modern dance elements come together to create a memorable scene.

As in most productions with sparse scenic elements, the lighting for [Title of Show] takes on an even greater role. With well-defined play areas, allowing different scenes to happen simultaneously as in “What Kind of Girl is She?”, and exceptional color choices highlighting the moods and themes of the scenes demonstrated in “The Tony Award Song” and “Dream Sequence”, the lighting is the true technical star of the show.

The actors each perform their roles masterfully, pulling the audience in to their characters’ world and not letting go until the finale.

IMG_5825They inhabited the roles so well it was easy to think they were actually playing themselves.

David Cook and Jonathan Metting as Jeff and Hunter, the writers, are completely natural in their interactions with each other. Their jokes and arguments are as realistic as would be expected from the original cast members. Their hope is palpable in “Part of it All” and frustration is crystal clear in “Awkward Photo Shoot”.

Daron Cockerell and Milette Siler play Heidi and Susan, Jeff and Hunter’s friends brought on to round out the script.

Siler, as Susan, voices concerns of not being able to measure up to the musical talent of the rest of the cast, punctuated when she demonstrates her inability to find a note in a harmony during “Filling Out the Form”. However, she is given great opportunities to shine with “Die Vampire, Die!”, and a featured section of “September Song”. These opportunities are not wasted and Siler displays greater confidence in her performance than does her character.

Cockerell comes into the part of Heidi confident and capable. Her grand finale of “I am Playing Me” is stunning. She nearly brings the house down, both musically and comically, stoppingIMG_6082 the show in her duet with Siler in “Secondary Characters”. “A Way Back to Then” is touching and heartfelt. It seems there is nothing this woman can’t do on stage.

Diane Stewart is in a quiet corner of the stage, alone for most of the show. Her main purpose is to provide the musical accompaniment on the piano but every once in a while her character, Mary, is given a line to participate in the scene. As the musical director, Stewart has ensured all the actors sound incredible and she is flawless on the piano.

IMG_6015It is worth the drive to Cleburne to see [Title of Show] Apropos no matter where in the metroplex you call home. The production features fantastic performances that keep the audience engaged. Plaza Theatre Company has a reputation for putting on some of the highest quality shows in the region, and with this musical they continue building that reputation.

Meet the Cast of PlazaCo’s [TITLE OF SHOW]

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We’re simply thrilled with the  fabulous cast we’ve assembled for our upcoming production of [title of show]. Every one of these performers has played multiple leads not only here at PlazaCo, but throughout the Metroplex. The level of talent is spectacular and the show is fabulous because of it. Read on to meet our amazing cast for [title of show] –

Jon HeadshotJONATHAN METTING (HUNTER) Previously seen at Plaza as Dickens/Fred in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Younger Brother in RAGTIME, Robert Martin in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Bobby in CRAZY for YOU, Rev. Oglethorpe in SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN, Joseph in JOSEPH…DREAMCOAT, Cornelius in HELLO DOLLY, Tommy in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, and Ozzy in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Past favorite roles include: Huck in BIG RIVER, Freddy in MY FAIR LADY, Charlie in GOOD MAN…CHARLIE BROWN, Dickon in SECRET GARDEN, Barnaby in HELLO DOLLY, Barrett in TITANIC, Man 1 in SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, Younger Brother in RAGTIME, Gary/Roger in NOISES OFF, Happy in DEATH OF A SALESMAN, Laurie in LITTLE WOMEN, John the Baptist/Judas in GODSPELL, Armand in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, and Bob Cratchit in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. “Thanks Mom, Dad, “A” and little “P” (yes, i just thanked my dog) for putting up with my sometimes crazy schedule.”

David HeadshotDAVID COOK (JEFF) is excited to be returning to the Plaza stage for the 5th time. Plaza patrons may have seen him take his shirt off in AIDA, as Radames, or perhaps they saw him when he took his shirt off in MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES, as Tom. He has also taken to the Plaza stage in more shirted roles, such as Percy in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. When not performing at Plaza, he has taken the stage in several other theaters in the DFW area. Most recently he was seen (fully dressed) in Lyric Stage’s 1776 as Judge James Wilson. When not on the stage, he is almost always wearing a shirt as he practices law in an effort to support his beautiful wife Shoshana and his adorable kid, Cosette. Much love to this incredible cast he gets to play with almost daily, and to Aaron for allowing him to perform this awesome role. If you’ve read this far, you are probably wondering if this will be a “shirt on” role, or a “shirt off” role – sorry, you’ll just have to watch to find out.

Milette HeadshotMILETTE SILER (SUSAN) Is it curtain time yet? Milette is super pumped to be here. No, seriously. She was most recently seen as Miss Skillon in SEE HOW THEY RUN and as The Chaperone in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. Other favorite roles include Frieda in Onstage in Bedford’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, and Pamela in MAN…TOES and the Baker’s Wife in INTO THE WOODS, both here at Plaza. Milette is also a founding Producer here at Plaza, along with her husband Aaron and partners Jaceson and Tina Barrus. When she isn’t working at Plaza, she is also a full time student studying Nutrition Science. Currently at Hill College, she plans to transfer to TCU in the fall to pursue her degree. Milette’s most important and rewarding project is the honor of being mom to Dana, Ryan, and Mitch, who constantly roll their eyes at their mom’s antics even though they secretly love it. Woohoo! Let’s do this!


CAITLAIN LEBLO (HEIDI)
Caitlan Leblo is excited to return to the Plaza stage after a year of moving around and getting married! Some of her favorite shows at Plaza include, Caitlan HeadshotJOSEPH…DREAMCOAT, CRAZY FOR YOU, and THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. Most recently, she enjoyed playing Marmee in LITTLE WOMEN at Granbury Theatre Co. She was a member of Kids Who Care for 5 years and performed with them at Disney World and off – Broadway. Caitlan graduated from TCU with a Bachelor’s degree in education. She sang with the TCU Concert Chorale and performed with them at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She would like to thank her husband, and family, for all their love and support over the years.

Daron HeadshotDARON COCKERELL (HEIDI) Daron is thrilled that her 24th Plaza show is one she loves so much! Most recently she performed as Jo in LITTLE WOMEN (Granbury Theatre Company) and will soon be playing Eileen in TOO MANY GIRLS (Lyric Stage). Some favorite roles at Plaza include Mother in RAGTIME, Janet in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Cinderella in INTO THE WOODS, Annie Oakley in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (Best Actress Column Award), Natalie in ALL SHOOK UP, Eliza in MY FAIR LADY, Martha in SECRET GARDEN and Gertrude in SEUSSICAL. A graduate of Texas Christian University, she uses her Ad/Pr degree during the day before heading to the theatre. She hopes you enjoy this show as much as she does, and that you find your own “way back to then”. 🙂

Diane HeadshotDIANE STEWART (MARY, MUSIC DIRECTOR) Diane is thrilled to be working on [TITLE OF SHOW]. She has enjoyed working with this very talented cast and the outstanding director, Aaron Siler. Diane has been the musical director/pianist for NUNSENSE, YOUR’E A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN and NUNSENSE II, all performed at Greater Cleburne Carnegie Player’s Theater. She is also a piano teacher, several of her students have been cast members in many of Plaza and Carnegie show.

Now it’s time to make plans to see this amazing cast in action. The show plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 and Saturday afternoons at 3pm from March 15th thru April 13th. To make reservations either call the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com

Audition Notice: DIRTY, ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS at Plaza Theatre Company

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Audition Notice: DIRTY, ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS at Plaza Theatre Company

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce open auditions for its upcoming production of DIRTY, ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. The audition is being held on Monday March 18th and Tuesday March 19th. Auditioners need only make an appointment for one of the available days. Audition appointments are available by calling the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600 or by visiting here: Plaza Audition Appointments

The audition will be held at Plaza Academy which is located at 221 Mill Street in Cleburne about 1 block from Plaza Theatre Company. The show will be directed by Luke Hunt with musical direction by Doug Henry and choreography by Rachel Hunt.

AUDITION INFORMATION
Those auditioning are asked to come prepared to sing 32 bars of music in the style of the show that will best display their vocal ability. An accompanist will be provided. Additionally, those auditioning will be asked to read cold from the script during the initial audition. The directors will spend around 5 to 10 minutes with each individual performer at this initial audition.

A call back audition will be held on Saturday March 23rd at 9am. Those who the Directors wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition which may last up to 4 hours time. PLEASE REFER TO THE PLAZA AUDITION GUIDELINES AS WELL AS THE PLAZA AUDITION CREDO WHEN PREPARING YOUR AUDITION. The guidelines and Credo can be found at plaza-theatre.com/auditions

PRODUCTION INFORMATION
The production will play on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons opening on May 17th and playing through June 22nd. Rehearsals will commence on March 25th and will usually take place Monday thru Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings till opening. No Sunday rehearsals or performances.

SHOW INFORMATION
Two con men work the French Riviera – one seduces rich ladies, the other swindles women with made-up stories. When they attempt to work together they discover the town isn’t big enough for the both of them. They agree the first to extract $50,000 from a young female heiress wins and the other must leave town. An outlandish battle of cons ensues.

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 59th show. The Company has been the proud recipient of over 46 Column Awards including winning “Best Musical” in 2009, 2010 and 2012 in addition to recently being named “Best Theatre Group” by the WFAA A-List for 2011. Further information about PlazaCo is available by visiting http://www.plaza-theatre.com

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS

Lawrence Jameson – Male (age 40 -50) – G2 – Bb4 (Tenor): An older and experienced yet sophisticated con artist. Can be quick-witted and still debonair. Distinguished and cultured. Must be strong actor/ singer with very good smooth dance abilities. Must be able to affect various European dialects in dialogue and songs.

Freddie Benson – Male (age 25 – 35) – A2 – B4 (Tenor): A young and inexperienced con man. Quick on his feet but not very bright. Can be crass and inappropriate with little style or grace. Very strong character actor with the ability to play multiple caricatures in a broad style. Physically active with high energy and perfect sense of comic timing.

Christine Colgate – Female (age 25 – 35) – A3 – f#5 (Mezzo – Soprano): Younger American Heiress vacationing on the French Riviera. Beautiful with a sweet innocence in style and appearance that underlies all she does and is. Somewhat klutzy and Brooklyn Accent as well as standard American.

Andre Thibault – Male (age 35 – 50) -F2 – F4 (Bari-tenor): Distinguished with a strong sense of business and experience. Dry and sardonic but very smart, knows the ropes and how to bend the rules to his advantage. French accent.

Muriel Eubanks – Female (age 40 – 50) – E3 – C5 (Alto): Wealthy socialite. Definite distinguished wealthy “old money “air. Glamorous in style and manner with a dry wit. Love interest of Andre.

Jolene Oakes – Female (age 30 – 40) – A3 – D5 (Alto): Stereotypical American oil heiress from Oklahoma. “New money” with a loud brash personality. Strong and unapologetic. Thick OK accent. Ability to do rope tricks a plus.

Lenore – Female (age 17-30): A wealthy socialite, and one of Lawrence’s victims.

Sophia – Female (age 17-30): A wealthy socialite, and one of Lawrence’s victims.

Renee – Female (age 20-40): A wealthy socialite, and one of Lawrence’s victims (French accent).

Gerard – Male (age 20-40): Renee’s jealous husband.

Ensemble – Male and Female (ages 25 – 50) – Varies: Strong Singer / Dancers to play multiple roles including Lenore, Sophia, Renee, Hotel Manager, Nikos, Conductor, Usherette. Croupier, other wealthy socialites, etc. Strong acting abilities in character choices and ability create unique styles in all character parts.

Today’s Poll: Tell Us The Musicals You’d Like To See PlazaCo Produce

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Tell Us What You Think!

That’s right! Today we are asking for your input. We will be announcing our 2014 Season at our annual “Thank You Party” on April 9th. As you might guess, putting together a season of shows is always quite a challenge. This year, we are looking at a fabulous list of Musicals to produce in 2014, but we’d love to hear from you. Realizing what our mission is and the style of musical we like to produce at PlazaCo, please vote for the shows below you’d like to see us produce at PTC. (Pick up to three)

Please note that this list isn’t a complete look at every title we are considering for 2014. Thank you for your input.

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