Archive for October, 2013

Lolly-Pup’s Roundup: ROBIN GOOD Plays Tomorrow Afternoon at 12:30pm

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LOLLY-PUP’S ROUNDUP continues it’s triumphant return to the PlazaCo stage tomorrow afternoon with a fun-filled performance of ROBIN GOOD. This exciting and interactive show is perfect for young children as they get to watch Robin and his sidekick Little John foil the plans of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. The kids get to talk to the characters on stage and even come up on stage for part of the show. It’s a great half hour to spend with your kids or grand kids, they’ll have the time of their lives and you’ll love watching how much they smile.

All seats are general admission and only $5. Come on out for a great time with Lolly-Pup and all her friends tomorrow at 12:30pm.

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A Tremendous Review of CLUE THE MUSICAL from Ashlea Palladino of The Column by John Garcia

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Our cast and crew for CLUE THE MUSICAL has received a tremendous review from Ashlea Palladino of The Column by John Garcia. The show is Now Playing thru November 9th but is selling very quickly. Read on for a great recommendation of the show then call 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com to reserve your seats.

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CLUE THE MUSICAL at Plaza Theatre CompanyReviewed by Ashlea Palladino of The Column by John Garica

True originality is rare; especially it seems, on Broadway.  With the proliferation of the movie-turned-musical (Big Fish, Once, and Kinky Boots are examples), much of what we see on stage is a reimagining of someone else’s creativity and invention.  As so eloquently stated by The Man in the Chair in one of my personal favorites, The Drowsy Chaperone, “Please, Elton John, must we continue this charade?”

This trend certainly isn’t a new precept for any form of entertainment, but gosh, before we know it some eager producer out there will make a musical out of a…a board game, or something crazy like that.  What’s that?  I’m behind the times?  Oh, yes!  The creative team behind Clue The Musical did just that and brought their version of the “classic detective game” to a Baltimore dinner theater in 1995.  The show died a pretty quick death Off-Broadway (it was the book, in the theater, with the critics’ scathing remarks) in late 1997, but it remains oft-produced by community theaters, likely because of its brand name appeal to the masses.  I mean, who hasn’t played Clue?

Plaza Theatre Company unleashed Clue The Musical as its 69th main stage offering with mixed results. Director Dennis Yslas assembled a capable cast, though some actors were tellingly more confident and embedded into their characters.  Take out your Detective Notepads and follow along as I attempt to solve the mystery of this production.

Set Designer and Set Mural Painter, JaceSon P. Barrus and Julie Lee respectively, rolled all sixes with their interpretation of the board game’s 1963 U.S. edition.  Plaza co-founder Barrus explained during intermission that the show’s set was modeled after the version of Clue his family owned during his childhood, which was an interesting and poignant detail.  The majority of the stage floor was painted in a series of perfectly-spaced maizey-parchmenty squares to reflect the playing area of the board game.  Bordering the playing tiles at well-spaced intervals were six squares used to identify the rooms in Boddy Manor: kitchen, ballroom, lounge, billiard room, conservatory and study.  Painted on the wall above and behind each room square was an exact replica of that particular room from the game board.  Ms. Lee was precise in color, shading and perspective so that each room popped off the wall and was easily identifiable.  The 1963 version of Clue was reflective of the time period with bright oranges, greens and yellows, and an almost cartoonish effect.  After you see the musical, Google “1963 Clue game board” and see just how spot on the murals were.

As with all performances in the round, there’s usually at least one scene where audience members feel left out based on their seating position.  Not so with Clue The Musical as Mr. Yslas kept his crew of suspects in almost constant motion.   Large, readable props also added to that feeling of inclusion.  What was your favorite Clue weapon as a kid?  I always gravitated toward the candlestick, because it seemed so innocuous and innocent when compared to weapons like the revolver and the knife.  Prop Master Tammie Phillips stuck closely to the guidelines mapped out by the board game, and all of the weapons – including my beloved candlestick – were represented accurately, memorably and with great heft.

Costumer Kara Barnes chose wisely for these iconic players, though I expected to see more time period reflection in her pieces, as was expressed by the murals.  Mrs. Peacock was the most lavishly dressed in a turquoise, beaded cocktail dress that fit the actress nicely.  She wore the signature peacock plumage on a headpiece and there were even peacock feathers painted onto her ivory pumps.  Miss Scarlet donned a satin dress in a shade of red befitting her name, along with a black boa to emphasize her sass.  Similarly to Mrs. Peacock, Scarlet’s shoes were brightly blinged and detailed.  Col. Mustard’s uniform was particularly impressive with matching epaulets and pith helmet; he managed to look military formal and animated at the same time.  The other characters wore suits and uniforms that embodied the color of their name: White wore white, Green wore green, and Plum wore…well, you get the idea.

It was apparent the show wasn’t staffed with professional dancers though Darius-Anthony Robinson’s choreography focused more on accentuating normal body movements than precision and perfection.  As stated previously, none of the actors was still for long but Mr. Robinson added some flare which moved the story and the actors along with purpose and panache.  For example, during “Don’t Blame Me”, the actors pled their cases to the audience and moved along the game board from room to room.  Instead of just walking to their respective destinations, however, they pirouetted and glided and slid. These diversions of movement kept my eye busy and added to the frenetic tone of the song. 

Cameron Barrus’ lighting design utilized pinks and blues but relied on greens to cast just the right haze on the straw-colored stage.  Each of the manor rooms was individually lit and highlighted when there was action happening therein, which drew the audience toward the movement and helped to further identify the setting.

So the show looked great, but how did it sound?  This is where the clues led me somewhat astray.  While some of the Tom Chiodo’s lyrics are funny and clever, the score sounded rudimentary, repetitive and frankly, a bit boring.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show where so much of the music was performed in unison.  The word itself might as well be added to the list of murder weapons, for its effect on my ears was deadly.  I’ve never seen Clue onstage prior to this production, so I didn’t know if this performance style was standard or not. If the show was originally written this way, so be it; it’s just not my brand of biscuit.  But I took a peek at the libretto after returning from Cleburne, and it was clear some liberties were taken with parts of the score.  I was disappointed that the music wasn’t more inspiring.

During the first portion of “Everyday Devices” (before the other suspects join in) there may have been a note or two a third above the others, but otherwise the actors remained on the same note throughout.  Confusing me further was Miss Scarlet’s tendency to match Mr. Green’s octave for several measures and then jump to the next octave for a bit, only to end up back with Mr. Green.  Many other songs were performed this way, like “She Hasn’t Got a Clue” and “Foul Weather Friend.”    

I’ve now seen several shows at Plaza, and save one (my favorite PCT production, 2010’s A Christmas Carol), the productions employed musical tracks instead of live instrumentation.  This is one area where the music was not lacking in Clue, as a live pianist and percussionist were utilized throughout the show.  Cheri Dee Mega and Parker Barrus added a great deal of authenticity and value with their onstage performances.

G. Aaron Siler portrayed our host and narrator, Mr. Boddy.  Mr. Siler hit his mark with every entrance and all of his lines were delivered with wit and timing.  He mixed in a little bit of pomp and noir when he relayed clues to the audience which added to the air of mystery.  Mr. Siler’s versatile, controlled voice is the first one hears during Act I’s “The Game” and his various musical numbers thereafter confirmed him as the vocal standout amongst this cast.

As Mrs. Peacock, Kathy Lemons was the actor most fully entrenched in their character.  She sang “Once a Widow” with enviable energy and exuberance and she coasted around the stage using every inch of its available space to her advantage.  She integrated audience members into her song with her pointed stare but also with actual interpersonal touch.  Ms. Lemons’ hand movements were of particular note as they flickered and posed to match her dialogue.  Her vocals were strong and lively even if lacking a measured degree of tonal difference.

David Goza’s Professor Plum was understated and shy.  I wanted a little bit more emotion and animation from him, though Mr. Goza shared the show’s funniest scene as he quipped and volleyed back and forth with The Detective, played by Stacey Greenwalt King, in an exchange related to great literary works.  Mrs. King’s vocals outpaced Mr. Goza’s on their duet, “Seduction Deduction,” and their choreography and movements together seemed stilted and awkward.

I’ve already relayed my questions regarding Gemma Garcia’s musical choices as Miss Scarlet, and though she looked the part in her crimson dress and long, beautiful mane, I didn’t quite believe her as a conniving seductress.  She lacked a certain bravado that I expected from such a role and her accent seemed to wander from continent to continent.

Plaza Theatre Company veteran Jay Lewis (the playbill notes his performance in twenty or more Plaza productions) effectively expressed the fumbling humor of Col. Mustard and his appearance matched my mental interpretation of this character.  His physicality was noted during the scene with Mrs. Peacock when they reminisced about their old friendship and plotted their new affair.

As the scripted balance to Professor Plum, Jonathan Metting’s Mr. Green was appropriately bumbling and dimwitted, all the while able to speak fairly intelligently on the subject of his business dealings with Mr. Boddy.  I hoped for more difference between these two performers, though Mr. Metting set himself apart with his character’s misuse of popular proverbs and colloquialisms.  Instead of saying “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” Mr. Metting’s line was “Don’t count your chickens before they cross the road.”  His vocals were strong and his strut indicated a confidence and comfort on the stage.

Rounding out this ensemble was Joshua Sherman as Mrs. White. He carried the first solo song of the show, “Life is a Bowl of Pits,” with an almost maniacal Cockney glee.  He stalked about the kitchen area of the stage and used the props as extensions of his character.  In alignment with the tradition of English pantomime, I was pleased with Plaza’s choice to place a man in this role.

While participation was optional, each playbill was accompanied by an insert that allowed us to play along with our fellow audience members toward the goal of finding out whodunit, where, and with which weapon.  Mr. Boddy disseminated clues at various points throughout the show, though I will admit that my guesses were altogether wrong!  This loss was a bitter pill to swallow for someone with my competitive nature but I took the loss on the chin and reacted in the only way I possibly could: I bought a Blizzard from the nearby Dairy Queen and ate it while I pondered my languishing career as a detective.

Photos from CLUE THE MUSICAL at Plaza Theatre Company

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CLUE THE MUSICAL is now playing at Plaza Theatre Company – and if you haven’t made plans to see this outrageously funny musical whodunit, then now is the time. Each performance the audience chooses from the cards and the actors perform a show based on what is picked. 216 possible variations! Enjoy these wonderful photos from the show taken by Micah King and Stacey Greenawalt King and then call 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com for reservations.

Boddy-Green-Small Green-Detective-Small Green-Scarlet-Small Mustard-Boddy-Small Peacock-Small Mustard-Peacock-Small Plum-Detective-Small Plum-Small Scarlet-Small White-Small

Audition Notice: CASH ON DELIVERY at Plaza Theatre Company

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Audition Notice: CASH ON DELIVERY at Plaza Theatre Company

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce open auditions for its upcoming production of CASH ON DELIVERY. The initial audition is being held on Monday November 4th from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. 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 JaceSon Barrus.

AUDITION INFORMATION

Those who audition are asked to prepare a 2 minute comedic monologue to be performed at the audition. Additionally, those auditioning will be asked to read cold from the script during the initial audition. The director will spend around 5 minutes with each individual performer at this initial audition.

A call back audition will be held on Wednesday November 6th at 7pm. Those who the Directors wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition which may last up to 2 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 December 31st and playing through January 25th. Rehearsals will commence on November 18th and will usually take place Monday thru Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings until opening. No Sunday rehearsals or performances.

SHOW INFORMATION

A con artist has been duping the Government for years by claiming every type of benefit for fictitious people. When welfare investigators show up, he has to do some very quick thinking to bring these made up people to life. Fast paced British farce at it’s very finest.

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 11 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 69th 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

Eric Swan – 35-45 Somewhat sophisticated, executive type. He’s intelligent and resourceful and too creative for his own good.

Linda Swan – 35-45 Eric’s wife, professional and well-dressed. The Swans are the “Upwardly Mobile” type.

Norman McDonald – 25-35 The Swans’ upstairs tenant. He is more bohemian and youthful–just starting to think about the meaning of life and responsibility.

Mr. Jenkins – 40s or 50s – Serious-minded low-level bureaucrat, he’s all about business and routine, and the proper way of doing things.

Uncle George – 55-60 – Uncle George has lived enough life to not take things too seriously. He seizes the day and whatever opportunities come along to make life better. He has become somewhat eccentric in his non-chalance about life.

Sally Chessington – 25-30 – Young, bleeding heart social worker type. Sally tries to help everyone and probably wouldn’t swat a fly.

Doctor Chapman – Psychologist and marriage counselor, he tries to keep a level head and to not let anything surprise him–however difficult that may be.

Mr. Forbright – 35-55 A caring professional, Forbright is an undertaker with a good bedside manner, even when he can’t find a body to bury.

Ms. Cowper – 55-60 An absolutely stern, serious-minded government supervisor, with the demeanor of a prison warden.

Miss Dixon – 25-30 Norman’s easily-confused and highly dramatic girlfriend.

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