Review – Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming

Hey Plaza fans,

Yesterday, Plaza’s production of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN HOMECOMING received a fantastic review from Mark Nobles of the Cleburne Times-Review. We are so proud of this cast and this show and we know you’re gonna love it too. Most dates still have availability, so make plans soon to see the show. It plays now thru October 23rd. Don’t procrastinate – reserve today.

Here is the review in its entirety for your reading pleasure:

September 15, 2010

‘Smoke’ sequel hits the stage: Can I get an Amen?

By Mark A. Nobles/Special to the Times-Review Wed Sep 15, 2010

Plaza Theatre brings back the Sanders Family gospel singers and all the good folks from the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church for the final act in the “Smoke on The Water” trilogy. Don’t be scared off if you missed the first two installments, “Smoke on the Mountain” and “A Sanders Family Christmas.” Knowledge of the goings-on in the first two plays is not required to enjoying this production.

Set two months after VJ Day in 1945, young Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe and his pregnant wife, June, are set to take off for a new church in Texas. June’s brother, Dennis, is stepping into the Mount Pleasant pulpit and the entire Sanders family has come to see Mervin and June off into the wilds of West Texas.

“Homecoming” features more than 20 songs, mostly old-time gospel numbers, impeccably performed by a strong cast of singers.

For the first two stagings of the “Smoke on the Mountain” trilogy the Plaza managed to keep the cast completely intact. New actors have been cast in some of the roles this go-round.

The two most notable cast changes are in the roles of Mervin and June. Kyle Macy steps in for Kyle Adams as Mervin, and Camille Shaw replaces Danielle Beacham as June.

Macy is superb as Mervin and plays the character with the appropriate dollops of good-hearted goofiness. His rendition with Shaw of “Round up in the Sky” is a highlight.

Shaw has the biggest shoes to fill as Beacham’s June was a hit in the two previous productions. Shaw’s portrayal of June is a little less gangly but every bit as hilarious as Beacham’s. Given the physical demands of the character and the fact that in the play June is eight months pregnant, Shaw’s performance is a revelation.

G. Aaron Siler and Darcy Farrington reprise their roles as Burl and Vera Sanders and are once again spot on in their performances.

The role of wayward Uncle Stanley is a little short-changed in this installment of the trilogy, but JaceSon P. Barrus is once again touching and funny in the role.

Andrew Guzman and Jill Baker play the twins Dennis and Denise and both are exceptional. Baker has a standout moment in the first act with a beautiful rendition of “Children Talk to Angels.”

Judy Barnett and Priscilla Nix play the elderly church ladies Maude and Myrtle. The pair inhabits “Amen Corner” and are constantly nipping at the proceedings and should not be ignored.

The praise band consists of Cheri Dee Mega on piano, Bill Ware on guitar and Mike Melody on bass. This trio is utterly amazing and provides the drive for the entire show.

“Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” is funny, touching, heart warming and will fill your heart with joy. The show will appeal to everyone in the family from 8 to 80 and you can even sing along with the cast.

“Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” runs through Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, with two performances Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. For information, call 817-202-0600 or visit

Season Ticket Open House – 2010

It was a wonderful kick-off to Plaza’s 2011 Season last night as 2010 Season Ticket holders attended the Season Ticket Open House at Plaza Theatre Company. Musical numbers from many of PlazaCo’s 2011 season were sung by the likes of Christine Atwell, David Cook, Milette Siler and Tabitha Barrus as Season Ticket holders got a sneak peek at some of the amazing productions that will take center stage at Plaza in 2011. The food was great and the atmosphere very exciting. Current Season Ticket holders have renewal priority now through October 3rd. On October 4th, Season Tickets will be available to the general public. This year, Plaza will only sale 1,000 Season Tickets, so don’t miss out on your chance to enjoy every show at Plaza at a great discount.

Here are some pix of last night’s event:

Thanks Season Ticket holders, singers and volunteers. The 2010 Season Ticket Open House was a booming success. It’s going to be an amazing year.

Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming – PHOTOS!

These are some lovely shots of SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN HOMECOMING’s opening night. They were taken by Plaza’s favorite photographer Ginny Rodgers. Enjoy. (And come see the show).

AUDITIONS! – Over the River and Through the Woods – Great Actors Needed!

I know we already put out information about tonight’s audition for OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, however this is a follow-up to emphasize how wonderful these parts are and how quality actors are needed to make this show fly.

Plaza Theatre Company is delighted to announce auditions for Over The River And Through The Woods on Tuesday, August 31st. Auditions will last from 7 to 10pm and are by appointment only. Those auditioning will only need to spend 10 to 15 minutes auditioning for the Director and the Producers. Materials for the audition will be provided at the audition.

The play calls for a tight cast of seasoned performers with exceptional comic timing and appeal. Required are two sets of Italian grandparents, a young man in his middle thirties and an attractive young woman mid to late twenties. All roles are open and Plaza producers as well as the show’s director Kevin Poole, are looking to fill the roles with talented and experiences performers who can bring the wit and charm of the script to life through these wonderful characters.

Audition appointments, as well as more detailed information about the audition, the play, and the open roles are available by visiting

Whether you are a performer who has already graced the Plaza stage or a perfomer new to Plaza, we encourage you to consider auditioning for Over The River And Through The Woods. We know you’ll find the experience rewarding and the time well spent.

An invitation to Plaza’s 2010 Season Ticket holders

Dear Plaza Season Ticket Holders,
Well, 2010 has been a smash success here at Plaza Theatre Company. With more performances and more sell-outs than ever before, PlazaCo has truly become “Cleburne’s Unsurpassed Family Entertainment Destination”. During the 2010 Season Plaza will have played over 200 performances for over 27,000 patrons! Not bad when you consider our humble beginnings just three short years ago.
And now Plaza has become a major player in the DFW arts community by continually receiving spectacular reviews from area critics and by consistently drawing the best talent the Metroplex has to offer – even so far as to receive national media coverage for the critically acclaimed 2010 production of INTO THE WOODS.
We know 2011 will take PlazaCo to even greater heights of quality and satisfaction. Our season of shows will thrill audiences of every kind with another 200 performances of 10 wonderful plays. From roaring comedies like THE MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES and HARVEY, to dance extravaganza’s like CRAZY FOR YOU  and HELLO, DOLLY! From a side-splitting thriller like ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S THE 39 STEPS to hilarious musical comedies likes ANNIE GET YOUR GUN and JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. And from a swashbuckling adventure like THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL to America’s favorite musical ANNIE – not to mention the Plaza favorite SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN returning for the 1st time since 2008 – we promise Plaza’s 10 show lineup for 2011 will thrill you like never before.
Due to overwhelming demand as well as due to a desire to continue increasing the quality of our productions, we will be slightly increasing ticket prices for 2011. General admission prices will now be $15 for Adults, $13 for Students and Seniors and $12 for Children. The good news is that Season ticket prices for 2011 will not increase at that rate. For 2011, Season Tickets will be $120 for Adults, $100 for Students and Seniors and $90 for Children. That means Season Tickets are now a whopping 24% savings over general admission prices, which means Season Tickets are now an even better deal than before!
Plaza’s annual Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Night is September 14th from 7 to 10pm. It is an Open House and, as a 2010 Season Ticket holder, you are invited. There will be entertainment, explanations of each 2011 production and finger foods. There is no cost and reservations are not required, simply drop by any time between 7 and 10pm. During that time you may, if you choose, renew your Season Tickets for 2011. Season Ticket renewals will be taken in the order that folks arrive by a take-a-number system to insure fairness. If you are wishing to renew but can’t join us the night of September 14th, don’t worry. You still have priority to renew before non-Season Ticket holders through September 30th.

Additionally, to our Season Ticket holders who have sponsored seats, you may make your 2011 Season Ticket renewal reservations beginning September 7th. Further, Group Season Ticket renewals (for groups of 30 or more) can be made, as a group, on September 13th starting at 1pm. These advance sales must be accompanied by reservations for specific dates to each production. 

As a 2010 season ticket holder, we are confident you have enjoyed the shows we’ve worked hard to produce for you this year. Each has been unique, but every one has carried the Plaza promise of being entertaining and enjoyable at an affordable price, all right here in a beautiful facility very close to home. Our hope is you’ve found great value in your 2010 Season Tickets and that you’ll be eager to join us again at Plaza Theatre Company for an even greater 2011!
See you September 14th,
Plaza Theatre Company Founders and Staff –
JaceSon and Tina Barrus
Aaron and Milette Siler

Our 2011 Season:

THE MAN WITH THE POINTED TOES ~ Playing December 31st (our New Year’s Eve Show) thru January 29th

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN ~ Playing February 4th thru March 12th

THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL ~ Playing March 18th thru April 16th

HARVEY ~ Playing April 22nd thru May 14th

HELLO, DOLLY! ~ Playing May 20th thru June 18th


SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN ~ Playing August 5th thru September 10th

ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S THE 39 STEPS ~ Playing September 16th thru October 8th

CRAZY FOR YOU ~ Playing October 14th thru November 12th

ANNIE ~ Playing November 18th thru December 23rd

AUDITIONS for Over the River and Through the Woods

Directed by Kevin Poole

Call backs are Wed. Sept. 1 at 7-10pm

Nick is a single Italian-American guy from New Jersey. His parents retired and moved to Florida. That doesn’t mean his family isn’t still in Jersey. In fact, he sees both set of grandparents every Sunday for dinner. This is routine until he has to tell them that he’s been offered a dream job. The job he’s been waiting for – marketing executive – would take him away from his beloved, but annoying, grandparents. He tells them but the news doesn’t sit so well. Thus begins a series of schemes to keep Nick around. How could he betray his family’s love to move to Seattle for a job, wonders his grandparents? Well, Frank, Aida, Nunzio and Emma do their level best, and that includes bringing to dinner the lovely – and single – Caitlin O’Hare as bait.

Auditioners will be asked to come prepared to read cold from the script. Each auditioner should plan to spend about five to ten minutes auditioning for the Director.  If necessary, a call back audition will be held on Wed. September 1st at 7pm. Those auditioners who the Director wishes to see further will be invited to the call back audition which may last up to three hours time. 

The production will play on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons opening on October 29th and playing through November 20th. Rehearsals will commence on Monday Sept. 6th and take place 7:00-10:00 pm Mon. – Wed. evenings through opening. No Saturday rehearsals are scheduled at this time.

Rehearsals take place Monday thru Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings till opening. No Sunday rehearsals or performances.

(all parts are open, some parts may be double-cast)
Ages are approximate and are NOT cast in stone.

Nick Cristano: (30’s.) Third generation Italian-American. Has lunch every Sunday with his two sets of grandparents.

Frank Gianelli: (Early 80’s.) Nick’s maternal grandfather. Native born Italian sent to America when he was a young boy.

Aida Gianelli: (70’s.) Nick’s maternal grandmother. A genius with tomato, pasta dough and garlic.

Nunzio Cristano: (70’s.) Nick’s paternal grandfather. First generation Italian-American. Good hearted loudmouth who harbors a secret.

Emma Cristano: (70’s.) Nick’s paternal grandmother. First generation Italian-American. Very direct and a little pushy.

Caitlin O’Hare: (Late 20’s.) Attractive and charming Irish-American. The daughter of Emma’s canasta partner who is set up on a blind date with Nick.

Click here to visit the PlazaCo Auditions page for more info:

Click here to make an audition appointment:

John Garcia’s The Column Review picked up by National Theatre Website


We were so thrilled with John Garcia’s review of INTO THE WOODS for The Column, largely because it has helped the word get out that INTO THE WOODS is a show worth seeing. We were even more thilled today to learn the review was picked up for publication on – a national theatre website. We are so honored to have this show on our stage and grateful for the hard work and excellence of the cast and crew.

Click below to visit the review on