Archive for July, 2013

An Excellent Review of BYE BYE BIRDIE from Paul Gnadt of The Star Group


We’ve reached the final weekend of BYE BYE BIRDIE at Plaza Theatre Company. And if you haven’t yet seen this amazing cast in action there’s still time. Read this excellent review of the show by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers, then give us a call at 817-202-0600 to reserve your seats – you’ll be glad you did. Now, read on:

by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers

Hurry. There’s still time to see “Bye Bye Birdie,” the current production of the Plaza Theatre Company at the Plaza Theatre in downtown Cleburne.

PTC is also simultaneously presenting “Smoke on the Mountain” at the Cleburne Conference Center, which, given its impressive stable of talent, is no problem.

While “Smoke” is about the Sanders family, “Birdie” is a family affair as directed by the mother-daughter team of Tina and Tabitha Barrus, with the husband and wife team of Josh and Caitlin Leblo in the lead roles of songwriter/agent Albert Peterson and his secretary/girlfriend Rose Alvarez.

There is also a cast of what seems like thousands but are actually students of PTC’s summer teen dance camp.

After two weeks of intense training, the teens explode with boundless energy in numerous musical numbers that feature clever choreography and some really neat tap dancing, especially in “Put on a Happy Face”.

Everyone who grew up a fan of Elvis Presley (like me) is sure the musical is based on his leaving for the Army, and there is plenty of evidence to support that: the hairstyle of rock ‘n’ roll star Conrad Birdie (played by Brandon McCormick), the twist on the name Birdie, which could be Elvis’ rival Conway Twitty, and the prominent and very funny scene involving the “Ed Sullivan Show,” on which Elvis’ twisting hips were famously kept off screen.

Anyway, here’s the plot.

Albert Peterson (Josh Leblo) is in deep hair jell because his meal ticket has been drafted into the Army. Albert’s secretary, Rose, (Caitlin Leblo), creates a publicity stunt to have Birdie record and perform a song — “One Last Kiss” —  before he is sent overseas. The song is to be sung on the Sullivan show with one girl from Birdie’s fan club getting the last kiss.

The lucky girl is Kim McAfee (Madeline Smith), 15, from Sweet Apple, Ohio, where Kim has a boyfriend (double-cast with Parker Barrus and Jesse Bowron) who thinks Kim likes Conrad more than she does him.

Conrad is a guest at Kim’s house, where her father, Harry (played hilariously by G. Aaron Siler) hates Conrad until told they are all going to be on the Sullivan show doing a remote from the house.

During the telecast, a fight breaks out and it’s funny, funny stuff. Be sure and keep your eye on Siler, a master of physical comedy.

It all works out in the end, it just takes a little while and 24 song, dance, song and dance, and tap dance numbers to get there during the two-hour performance, including the 15-minute intermission.

This is a good one to just sit back, relax and enjoy the music and dancing.
From a book by Michael Stewart, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams, “Bye Bye Birdie” features Glenn Turner as musical director and Hanna Midkiff as assistant camp director for the teen actors.

Costume design is by Kara Barnes, sound by Aaron Siler, lights by Cameron Barrus, with sets designed by Tina Barrus and constructed by JaceSon Barrus.

“Birdie” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Plaza Theatre, 111 N. Main St. in Cleburne.

Tickets — $15 for adults, $14 for age 65 and older, $14 for students and $13 for age 12 and under are available at the box office, or online at, or by calling 817-202-0600.

Casting Announcement: DEAR RUTH at Plaza Theatre Company


Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the official Cast List for it’s upcoming production of DEAR RUTH. The show is set to open September 13th and will play thru October 5th. It will be under the direction of Taffy Geisel with stage management by Emily Warwick. Thanks to all who auditioned and congratulations to those who have been cast.

The cast is as follows: (double cast where noted)

JUDGE HARRY WILKINS – Jay A. Cornils, Luke Hunt

MRS. EDITH WILKINS – Katy Wood, Cheryl Coward King

RUTH WILKINS – Tabitha Barrus, Kellie Nickell

MIRIAM WILKINS – Rachel Browning, Brooke Verbois

DORA the MAID – Becki Schoen, Ruth Anne Warwick


Sgt. CHUCK VINCENT – Michael Sorter, Jesse Bowron

MARTHA SEAWRIGHT – Scout Harrell, Dora Hunt

ALBERT KUMMER – Jonathan Metting

Summer at PlazaCo – Three Great Shows NOW PLAYING


Some Great Photos Of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN by Stacey Greenawalt King

Here are some great shots of PlazaCo’s currently running production of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN taken by Stacey Greenawalt King. Enjoy the pix, then give us a call to make your reservations – 817-202-0600 or visit

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Press Release: SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN at Plaza Theatre Company


Plaza Theatre Company Presenting An Encore Production of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN Opening July 18th

July 11th, 2013

Plaza Theatre Company is proud to announce the opening of an encore production of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN on July 18th, 2013. The production will play at the Cleburne Conference Center Theater at 1501 W. Henderson Str. in Cleburne, TX opening on July 18th and playing thru August 3rd. It will be the 66th show produced by Plaza Theatre Company since it’s inception in November of 2006.

The Cleburne Conference Center Theater is the regular home of the Carnegie Players who recently completed a successful run of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on that stage. PlazaCo’s regular Mainstage production of BYE BYE BIRDIE will continue playing at Plaza’s regular 111 S. Main location thru August 3rd as well.

SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN tells the story of a Saturday Night Gospel Sing at a country church in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains in 1938. The show features two dozen rousing bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family Singers – a family singing group on the gospel circuit during The Great Depression. Between songs, each family member “witnesses” – telling a story about an important event in their life. Though they try to appear perfect in the eyes of a congregation who wants to be inspired by their songs, one thing after another goes awry and they reveal their true – and hilariously imperfect – natures. By the evening’s end, the Sanders Family have endeared themselves to the congregation (the audience) by revealing their weaknesses and allowing them to share in their triumphs.

Plaza has produced all three of the shows in the SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN trilogy, but many consider the first one the best. And we’re thrilled to start at the beginning for this special encore production of the show featuring many members of Plaza’s original cast. They’re back, and better than ever!

The Cast List for SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN is: (Double Cast where noted)

Pastor Oglethorpe – Jonathan Metting

June Sanders – Camille Shaw

Burl Sanders – Kevin Poole

Vera Sanders – Samantha Parrish

Stanley Sanders – JaceSon P. Barrus

Denise Sanders – Kasi Hollowell

Dennis Sanders – Andrew Guzman

Myrtle – Jamie Dugger

Maude – Corliss Cornils, Priscilla Nix

Melva (on Piano) – Cheri Mega

Cousin Buford (on Bass) – Bob Gracey

Fiddlin’ Forrest (on Fiddle) – Howard Geisel

Pickin’ Parker (on Guitar) – Parker Barrus

The production is under the direction of JaceSon Barrus with stage management by Stefanie Glenn. The show will open on Thursday July 18th at 7:30pm and will then play every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening thru August 3rd at 7:30pm with Saturday matinees every Saturday afternoon at 3pm. Ticket prices are $15 for Adults, $14 for Seniors and Students and $13 for Children with an extra $1 service charge per ticket to the Cleburne Conference Center.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 817-202-0600, by visiting or visiting the Plaza Box Office between the hours of 10am and 6pm Monday thru Saturday.

In Honor Of Opening SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN This Thursday


SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN begins its encore performances this Thursday evening at 7:30pm at the Cleburne Conference Center Theater. The show will then play Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 thru August 3rd with Saturday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are available by calling the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600 or by visiting Plaza Online Ticketing at – Now enjoy some photos from past productions of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN at PlazaCo, then make your reservations to come enjoy the show.

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Youth Summer Show Camp Starts Monday! – THE JUNGLE BOOK

Jungle Book

Our youth summer show camp is back after a thrilling debut last year with SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! This year promises to be even better as students will create and present a production of THE JUNGLE BOOK KIDS! In this unforgettable two week summer camp, students will have fun filled mornings of dance, music, and acting classes. Afternoons will be spent in workshops and rehearsing for their very own performance of Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK KIDS! Students will have a great time making new friends while learning theatre skills they will keep the rest of their lives.

Ages: 8-12

July 8 – 19 (M-F, 9am-3pm)

Performances: July 20 -30

Tuition: $200

If you have interest in registering your child, space is limited but there is still time. Only 5 spots remain so give us a call today at 817-202-0600. Make this a summer your child will never forget!