Archive for the ‘ Producer’s Corner ’ Category

Plaza Theatre Company announces changes to it’s 2011 Season of Plays

Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce it’s lineup of shows for the 2011 season. This season of shows includes one change from what has been previously announced. Plaza will continue it’s annual tradition of presenting 10 mainstage productions every weekend of the year playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30pm as well as every Saturday afternoon at 3pm. The season will include two comedies, seven musicals and one action-adventure.
JaceSon Barrus, Plaza Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, today announced the 2011 season as the Company kicks off it’s annual Season Ticket drive. “This season really has something for everyone” said Barrus. “There are familiar favorites, classic comedies, adventure, sword-fights, tap-dancing, beautiful music. It really will make Plaza’s 5th full season of shows a special one”.Plaza’s 2011 Season of Shows will feature: 

MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES – Comedy, December 31st thru January 29th

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN – Musical, February 4th thru March 12th
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL – Musical, March 18th thru April 16th


HARVEY – Comedy, April 22nd thru May 14th


HELLO, DOLLY! – Musical, May 20th thru June 18th
SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN – Musical, August 5th thru September 10th
**TREASURE ISLAND – Action-Adventure, September 16th thru October 8th
CRAZY FOR YOU – Musical, October 14th thru November 12th
ANNIE – Musical, November 18th thru December 23rd
The season will also feature special performances on both New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. The New Year’s Eve party will feature a performance of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES playing at 9pm while the Valentine’s party will feature a performance of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN at 7:30pm. Both shows will include food and favors as part of the evening’s festivities.

The production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT will be this year’s Plaza Academy Camp Show. The Camp Show is an opportunity for students to take part in a summer acting camp that includes taking part in Plaza’s summer production. Past Camp Shows at Plaza have included FOOTLOOSE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and ALL SHOOK UP.

Please note the replacement of THE 39 STEPS with TREASURE ISLAND. Plaza producers have explained that difficulty in arranging the rights for THE 39 STEPS caused this change in the schedule. TREASURE ISLAND, based on the masterwork by Robert Louis Stevenson, will occupy the 8th slot in Plaza’s 2011 season of shows.

Season Tickets for Plaza’s 2011 Season of Shows are available now. An adult ticket for all 10 shows is $120. A senior or student ticket for all 10 shows is $100 and a child ticket for all 10 shows is $90. The Plaza Theatre Company Box Office is available at 817-202-0600 Monday thru Saturday from 10am to 6pm. You can also find more information about Plaza by visiting

**NOTE – TREASURE ISLAND is replacing the previously announced THE 39 STEPS. While Plaza looks forward to producing THE 39 STEPS in the future, difficulties with arranging the rights initiated this change to the previously announced schedule.

Happy Birthday to Plaza Theatre Company

That’s right y’all, it’s Plaza Theatre Company’s 4th birthday today. On November 2nd, 3rd and 4th of 2006, PlazaCo opened it’s doors for “Preview Weekend” performances of MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES.

Milette Siler and Kyle Adams in Man With the Pointed Toes

The weekend was a great success and the rest, as they say, is history. So many wonderful people came together to help us get on our feet in those early days and PlazaCo wouldn’t be here today without their amazing contributions to that first show. People like David and Shoshana Cook, Kyle Adams, Jason Hernandez, Tim Dewhirst, Treeva Phillips, Marshelle Phillips, Karen Trahan, Stefanie Glenn, Maryclaire Becan, Faith Merrifield who either acted in the pre-show or in MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES itself. These great folks, together with our kiddos Tabitha, Parker, Cameron, Eden, Miranda, Dana, Ryan and Mitch as well as the undying support of the Downtown Cleburne Association, are what made it possible to be here today.

Our first booster card

Now, 4 years later, we are presenting our 38th production and our over 800th performance since opening our doors back in 2006. And what an adventure it has been. Our current show, OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, is another in the long tradition of Plaza comedies – a lot of humor and a whole lotta heart.

So thanks to all the Plaza patrons, board members, actors, musicians, designers, technicians and volunteers. We’ve come a long way in 4 years and we’re blessed to have had y’all along for the ride.

Sincerely, Plaza Producers JaceSon & Tina Barrus and Aaron and Milette Siler

You should join THE COLUMN too!

The Metroplex really is a fantastic place to be involved in the theatre community. There are so many wonderful theatrical organizations presenting all kinds of excellent productions. We feel honored to be a part of this thriving community and make our way to see the productions presented by other local theatre’s as often as our limited free time will allow. We truly believe that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that pulling for each other within the community is an exceptional way to improve both artistic quality and patronage. What could be better?

One phenomenal way we’ve found to work with the whole is by our individual subscriptions to The Column by John Garcia. This organization is dedicated to the advancement of the arts in the Metroplex and has become an indipensable tool for us as theatre producers, directors, designers and actors. In addition to providing commentary on Broadway productions, movies, television shows, various awards shows including the Tony’s, Oscar’s and Emmy’s, etc. the email newsletter is also our go to source for up-to-the-minute information about local productions, casting and auditions. Truly, anyone wanting to stay in-the-know in the Metroplex arts community has no choice but to subscribe to The Column by John Garcia email newsletter.

Further, (and we’re not just saying this because we were the honored recipients of 10 Column Awards at this year’s Gala), The Column Awards Gala has become an unrivalled event in the Metroplex. For 11 years, The Column Awards have recognized excellence in the theatre community with awards given in both Equity and non-Equity categories. Votes for these Awards come from among The Column subscribership, meaning that these Awards are literelly given by artistic peers. Additionally, proceeds generated by the Gala (above paying for the costs of the event) are donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS – an exceptionally worthy cause.

Lastly, The Column provides critical reviews of local productions for it’s readership. We at Plaza have been given praise as well as criticism in the past in these reviews but above all, we feel honored to be held to a high standard by The Column’s critics. We also love reading about other Metroplex productions in these reviews.

Becoming a Column subscriber is extremely easy. Simply send an email to thecolumnbyjohngarcia at yahoo dot com with the phrase “join The Column” in the heading.

If you are not yet a Column subscriber, we at Plaza Theatre Company encourage you to follow the above steps to become a subscriber soon. We know you will find it as beneficial and entertaining as we have found it to be.

Directing a trip Into the Woods

On Friday it was my honor to watch the opening of our current production INTO THE WOODS. As the director of this show it was fulling to see such a wonderful and talented cast and crew perform the show before a very receptive audience.

When many people walk into our little theatre they question our ability to mount certain shows on our stage. Musicals, by nature, typically take the audience to many different locations within a couple of hours and it is true that our stage is small and our back stage is even smaller limiting our ability for large set pieces to come in and out. It takes a lot of pre-production planning and creative thinking to figure out how we are going to represent those places with our limited size.

Into the WoodsINTO THE WOODS as a musical production poses many challenges for the stage. It opens in three different homes but then spends the rest of the production at different locations throughout a forest. It also must have a maiden in a tower, a singing tree, a palace, and Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandmother’s house with the Wolf inside. Also the audience must be transported to these different places within scene changes taking the span of a few seconds.

Once it was decided that we were doing this show and that I was going to be directing it I started sketching out ideas on how we can accomplish these locations within our space. I also spoke to many different people about my ideas to see if they thought it was feasible. Jaceson is a great collaborator for me and was able to build on the ideas I had and make them practical. I had some crazy ideas for building a tree archway that could hold a couple of actors. He never told me no, but instead he just let me keep talking about it until I realized it wouldn’t work.

The next piece was adding a music director. Rebecca Lowrey was able to step in at the last minute as our music director. I had to change music director’s a few days before auditions and Rebecca was referred to me by my good friends Stefanie Glenn and John Garcia who had just worked with her on another production. Asking her to music direct based only on a recommendation is risky but ended up being a fantastic fit.

Little Red and Wolf

Tabitha Barrus and JaceSon Barrus as Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.

One of the hardest pieces of a production is adding the cast and crew. We had over 45 people audition for just 16 parts. Sometimes we struggle getting a talented cast together but at this audition we struggled with not being able to cast all of the talented people that auditioned. Casting is always the most difficult part of the process since so much depends upon it.

As an actor myself I had some strong ideas on the characterizations in the show but it is always important to allow room for actors to find their own way. An actor being able to find their own emotional context within a show will always bring the strongest result. As a director it is my job to have the overall picture of the show and help actors keep their character’s emotions and relationships with other characters within the confines of the overall message of the script.

Finally we add the lights, set, and sound. It is important that these three elements add to the show and not distract from it. INTO THE WOODS depends heavily on lighting to help convey the emotion and with most of the show spent in a forest so it was important to have lighting that gives a “closed in” feeling of the woods but yet still lights the actors. Light is a powerful medium of the stage with being able to show happiness and hope as well as sadness and despair.

The set also must add to this new world we are creating on stage. For INTO THE WOODS we added a large tree and used our lighting grid as part of a tree canopy. All four walls are painted with scenes to fit the show allowing the audience to be enveloped into the production. The end result allows the audience to feel like they are walking into a different world when they enter the theatre.

Sound also must add to this magical world. I rarely use sound effects from sound effect libraries but instead either record my own sound effects or use sound clips posted by other sound engineers across the world on the Internet. Every sound element from the realistic like bird chirps, baby crying, thunder claps, and crow caws to the unrealistic like Giant walking, wolf snoring, magic bean tossing, and spell casting need to fit withing the overall soundscape of the show.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this production and I hope that you have an opportunity to come see this amazing show.

Aaron Siler
Plaza Theatre Company Director of Operations
Director of Into the Woods

Into the Woods plays every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30pm and a Saturday matinee at 3:00pm until Sept. 4, 2010

That dreaded “Casting” word


Good day y’all. Tina here. It’s my week to write the Producer’s Corner piece for the Plaza Theatre Company blog, so I thought it might be fun to address that most difficult process known as auditioning and casting.

Every time a new audition comes around (we do it nearly once a month since we produce 10 Mainstage shows a year) we, the Producer’s, get excited about the prospects of getting together another fun, talented group of folks. Of course we love it when performers who’ve delivered excellent performances for us in the past come to auditions, but we’re also thrilled when new talent that hasn’t been on our stage comes to audition as well.

Casting at Plaza, like most things we do here, is a co-equal process between the four Producers and the person who is Directing the show. Though we know we’re not perfect, we try very hard to follow this credo when casting:

It is important to us that those who audition at PlazaCo feel as though they’ve been treated fairly and with respect.

We also have a high standard for what we expect from those who audition at Plaza. Our hope is that those who audition will be prepared with the appropriate materials and that they will treat the audition with respect as well. Here is a small overview of what we look for at an audition:

As to the actual audition process itself, one thing that is very important to us is the timing. We don’t want people who auditioned to have to wait around for days wondering what our casting decisions are. When possible, it is our goal to let people know what we’ve decided almost immediately.

As actors ourselves, we are also aware of the difficulties related to casting. Not everyone is going to agree with our decisions. Sometimes people might not feel the process was fair or that we considered all the abilities of each performer. Our only answer to that is that we try our best to follow our established credo and, while we know we can’t make every auditioner happy, we have to take joy in making some of them happy.

We are so grateful to all those who have and continue to audition at Plaza Theatre Company. Your commitment and excellence are a huge part of the success we enjoy at Plaza and we look forward to seeing you at our next audition for “Over The River And Through The Woods’ on August 31st Directed by Kevin Poole.

Tina Barrus, Co-Producer

Plaza Theatre Company

Artistic Director? What are the considerations when selecting a Season of Shows?

This is a question that goes to the heart of our operation here at PlazaCo. Effective programming is essential for success at the community theatre level. We feel that the shows we program must meet four criteria. First, is the material consistent with our family friendly approach? Second, is it a show that will pique the interest of our audience and therefore is viable to sell? Third, does it inspire us as artists? And fourth, will the title entice the area talent pool into auditioning?

Since we produce 10 shows a year at Plaza Theatre Company, it is a very delicate and challenging process delivering a full season of productions. As Producers – myself, Tina, Aaron and Milette share co-equal responsibility for selecting the plays that we produce at PlazaCo. The season must consist of a mix of well-known (or pre-sold titles as we call them) as well as newer, more risky material. It also must have a certain number of comedies and musicals as well as be aware of holidays. The season must also include a “Camp Show” which is a summer musical that includes young performers from our Plaza Academy as well as a production appropriate for the holiday season.

Recently, we settled on our 2011 season and unveiled the show list at Plaza’s annual Thank You Party. It is the 5th season at Plaza and a year that will see Plaza reach 49 total Mainstage shows produced (our current show, All Shook Up, is Plaza’s 35th).

Even though the full 2011 season was unveiled, one change has been made and will be announced shortly when the rights to a show we are replacing are approved.

During our 4 year and 35 show run, we’ve made some mistakes in programming, but we’ve also enjoyed some fabulous successes. It is certainly not an exact science, but the pleasure of being a part of creating something that gives so many so much enjoyment can’t be underestimated.

See you at the theatre.


JaceSon P. Barrus
Plaza Theatre Company Artistic Director