A Stellar Review of STEEL MAGNOLIAS by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers


The production team, cast and crew of STEEL MAGNOLIAS have all received an incredible review from Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers. We are proud to have the excellent work of all involved on the PlazaCo stage and hope you’ll take the time to see the show before it closes July 19th. Read on for a great review and then call 817-202-0600 to get your seats.


by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers

The camaraderie and bonding of the beauty parlor — free of concern about social status or position on the career ladder — must be for women what the golfing trip or fishing expedition is for men: a time and place where anything goes, everything can be discussed off-the-record and everybody remains friends.

The conversations can be side-splitting funny one minute and painfully truthful the next.
Even downright heartbreaking.

But you go again and again.

IMG_8219That’s the way it is at Truvy’s Beauty Spot, the Chinquapin, La., hair salon where the easy-going and laid-back proprietress and her gawky assistant serve four regular customers — all with sharp tongues and soft hearts. That’s the focal point of the Plaza Theatre Co.’s production of “Steel Magnolias,” playing through July 19 at the Plaza Theatre in Cleburne.

You are probably familiar with the 1989 movie by the same name and its all-star cast of Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field, Julia Roberts and Daryl Hannah.

This is better because the only set, the interior of the beauty parlor cleverly designed by JaceSon Barrus, makes each member of the audience feel like he or she should be the next customer in Plaza’s intimate 160-seat theater-in-the-round.

It’s not just the set, not just the funny lines and roller coaster of emotions that has you choking back tears one second then laughing so hard you cry.

It’s the actors. You can immediately identify someone in real life that you know is just like one of them.

The only men in the play are the ones created in your imagination by the dialogue. This is ensemble acting at its best, and the ladies pull it off with precision timing.

Truvy — played by Granbury Theatre Company veteran Angela Burkey and looking just like a hairdresser should — competes for business with the nearby Kut and Kurl and Beauty Box. But business is so good she hires an assistant, Annelle, played by Plaza rookie Brianna Knapp.

There are lots of laughs as timid and awkward Annelle is spooked by distant gunfire and realizes she has been duped by her husband. Later, she finds religion, has a personalty transplant and attempts to convert everyone in sight. But instead of her new-found religion being too sugary, Knapp plays it just right and turns out to be a sweetheart, just like the rest.

The maturing of Annelle is one of three sub-plots. The others are the adventures of Clairee, widow of the former mayor who buys the local radio station, and Ouiser, a cranky, twice-married, overalls-wearing curmudgeon who finds happiness when she begins dating again.

The fast-talking, quick-witted Clairee — “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize” — is played by longtime Carnegie Players actress and director Kate Hicks, whose considerable skills make it look easy.

That Hicks has joined Carnegie veterans Hillard Cochran, Dick Helmcamp, Shannon Loose and Andrew Guzman in making the jump back and forth between Cleburne theatre companies can only mean good things for the future of live theater in Johnson County.

Shauna Lewis is Ouiser, the same role she played when PTC first presented “Steel Magnolias” in 2010. She sounds and looks like she just arrived from the Louisiana backwoods.

The main story line centers around well-to-do M’Lynn, played by Trich Zaitoon, and her daughter, Shelby, played by Alvarado Junior High drama director Kristi Mills, who was last seen on the PTC stage in January in “Cash on Delivery.”

The play takes place over a two-year period, with the first of its four scenes taking place on Shelby’s wedding day. The silliness takes a serious turn when it’s surprisingly and dramatically revealed that Shelby is a diabetic who has been advised by her doctor not to have children.

Since each scene takes place months following the last, the dialogue between the ladies — just like the ubiquitous phone call in daytime soap operas — catches us up on what has happened in the intervening months.

IMG_8247The drama ensues when the headstrong Shelby announces she is pregnant and is going to have the baby regardless of what the doctors say.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know the outcome. If you notice the tissue boxes positioned throughout the theater for the audience to use, you can figure it out for yourself.

Zaitoon, who debuted on the PTC stage in its first production of “Steel Magnolias,” and  has been in about a half dozen PTC productions — most recently “Enchanted April,” delivers an outstanding monologue that has everyone reaching for the tissue boxes.

Just as she explodes with anger and wants to vent by hitting someone, the group offers up Ouiser as a sacrifice in one of the play’s funniest scenes that personifies the emotional ups and downs of this terrific night at the theater.

Perhaps it’s best that this is a woman-only performance, so the men in the audience can see how these “steel magnolias” use humor, mutual respect and love to handle the trivial and the worst of situations.

Directed by Taffy Geisel, with stage management by Cessany Ford,, costume design by Stacey Blanton, light design and sound design by G. Aaron Siler, this is a good one. There’s no swearing, no sexual innuendo. There are plenty of laughs and, yes, a few tears.

“Steel Magnolias” — written by Robert Harling and originally produced by the W.P.A. Theater in New York in 1987 — plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Saturdays, through July 19 at the Plaza Theatre, 111 S. Main St. in Cleburne.

Casting Announcement: SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL at Plaza Theatre Company


Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the official Cast List for its upcoming production of SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL. The show will commence rehearsals this evening in preparation for opening on July 25th. The show will then play thru August 9th on Thursday, Friday and Saturday eves at 7:30 with Saturday matinees on July 26th, August 2nd and August 9th at 12 noon and 3pm. SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL is under the direction of Tina Barrus with musical direction by Tabitha Barrus, choreography by Kelly Nickell and stage management by Monica Glenn. The official Cast List is below:

Cat in the Hat Zachary Willis
Horton Brian Lawson
Jojo (doubled) Henry Cawood
Jojo (doubled) Stephen Newton
Gertrude Molly Morgan
Mayzie Jessica Taylor
Bird Girl 1 Tabitha Barrus
Bird Girl 2 Rachel Browning
Bird Girl 3 Rachel Larsen
Wickersham 1 David Midkiff
Wickersham 2 Benjamin Midkiff
Wickersham 3 Josh Cummins
Sour Kangaroo Caroline Rivera
Sour Kangaroo Baby (doubled) Julie Hall
Sour Kangaroo Baby (doubled) Miranda Barrus
Mr. Mayor JaceSon Barrus
Mrs. Mayor Emily Warwick
Gen. Schmitz David Goza
Vlad Vladikoff Jonathan Tovar
Yertle the Turtle Parker Barrus
Jungle of Nool Ensemble Hannah Midkiff
Eden Barrus
Emma Whitehorn
McKenna Meachem
McLaine Meachem
Anna Looney
Cameron Barrus
Levi King
Nolan Moralez
Cessany Ford
Who Ensemble Dora Hunt
Hannah Kashmar
Heather Aikman
Crystal Todd
Lena Moralez
Rachel Ybarra
Micah King
Madison Heaps
Ty Drury
Luke Cariaga
Ruby Cox
Samantha Bond
Allison Bond
Ashlyn Mullins
I.J. Meachem
Jonah Barrus
Kendall Parades
Elephant Bird Emerson Drury
Scarlet Sikora

Audition Notice – BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO at Plaza Theatre Company


Audition Notice:

Auditions are: Wednesday, June 11th

Directed by G. Aaron Siler
Musical Direction by Doug Henry

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
7pm – 9pm at the Plaza Academy Studio
211 S. Mill St, Cleburne, TX
Auditions are by appointment only

Click here to make an audition appointment!We need strong singers with some dancing. There are 3 leading women, 3 leading men. All ages from late teens to 70s.

Auditioners will be asked to come prepared to sing 32 bars of music, preferably a song from the late 50’s, 60’s or early 70’s. An accompanist will be provided. Auditioners should also be prepared to read cold from the script at the audition. Each auditioner should plan to spend about five to ten minutes auditioning for the Directors.

A call back audition will be held on Saturday June 14th starting at 9am and may last for up to three hours. Those auditioners who the Directors wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition.

Rehearsals will commence Monday June 16 and take place usually on Mon. – Wed. evenings and Saturday mornings with time taken off during 4th of July weekend and depending on performer schedules. No Sunday rehearsals or performances.

The production will play on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons opening on August 15th and playing through September 13th.

This comic musical was built around 18 hits by 1960s pop star Neil Sedaka, including “Where the Boys Are”, “Sweet Sixteen”, “Calendar Girl”, “Love Will Keep Us Together”, and of course, the chart-topping title song. Marge and her stagestruck best friend Lois arrive at Esther’s Paradise Resort in the Catskills in 1960, on a vacation that was intended to be Marge’s honeymoon — until the groom left her at the altar. Lois attempts to console Marge by setting her up with the resort’s handsome, self-obsessed singer Del Delmonaco. Gazing forlornly at Marge from the wings is geekish cabana boy and aspiring songwriter Gabe. Meanwhile, when he isn’t entertaining guests with Borscht Belt shtick, house comic Harvey secretly carries a torch for widowed resort owner Esther.

(some roles may be double cast)

MARGE GELMAN (mid 20’s to 30’s; mezzo soprano, comfortable to an E and possibly beyond): Abandoned at the altar, Marge is an aspiring dentist from Brooklyn who finds herself in the Catskills on what would have been her honeymoon weekend. (Think Jennifer Grey in DIRTY DANCING) Duped into falling for the suave band leader, she ultimately finds self-esteem, learns the value of honesty and friendship and finds love where she least expected it.

LOIS WARNER (mid 20’s to 30’s; alto with some mezzo soprano ability, comfortable to a C and possibly beyond): An aspiring nightclub singer, Lois lives her life as if in a Betty Grable movie. She brings her best friend Marge up from Brooklyn to the Catskills for Labor Day Weekend. In trying to help her friend Marge recover from heartbreak, she inadvertently puts her in the line of fire with Del, the hotel’s suave but manipulative bandleader. With a Marilyn Monroe simplicity, Lois is a sweet young girl with more heart than brainpower.

DEL DELMONACO (mid 20’s to 30’s; tenor, comfortable to an A—the higher the better): An Elvis wannabe, Del is not the brightest bulb on the tree. (Think Conrad Birdie or Joey from FRIENDS). Del will do anything to get ahead, including misleading Marge into thinking he loves her and stealing his cousin Gabe’s songs for his own use.

GABE (mid 20’s to 30’s; tenor, Bb-C range): The clumsy, brainy and terribly shy Guy Friday at the hotel, Gabe is on a fast track to joining his father’s orthodontia practice. Lacking the self-confidence to perform his own music, Gabe he is secretly the songwriting genius behind the music Del claims as his own. When Gabe meets Marge, he is compelled to take action to win her heart and, ultimately, to reveal himself as the true musician, performing his own songs in front of the whole resort.

ESTHER (late 40’s to 70’s; alto, comfortable to a C, or at least a Bb): The owner of the mid-size hotel named after her (Esther’s Paradise), Esther is a survivor. Since the death of her husband, she has single-handedly kept the hotel afloat using crafty solutions, boundless energy and creativity to keep guests happy. She is fiercely independent, refusing help or support from anyone, and she’s always there with a quip or smart remark.

HARVEY (late 40’s to 70’s; baritone, should have range to an F# or a G): The resident “tummler” (comedian/social director) at Esther’s Paradise, Harvey is old-school Catskills. He is all about the punch line (and the set-up). A confirmed bachelor, Harvey spends most of his life cracking wise and avoiding any show if genuine emotion or vulnerability. When he witnesses the extreme lengths to which Marge will go to make love work for her again, he is inspired to take a leap of faith with Esther, the one person who truly appreciates the man behind the jokes.

A Great Review Of CAMELOT By Scott W. Davis of The Column by John Garcia


This past weekend saw the opening of CAMELOT at Plaza Theatre Company – and the cast and crew have delivered a magnificent show. CAMELOT plays now through June 14th, but hurry to get your seats as they are going fast! Read on for a great review of the show, then give us a call at 817-202-0600 to reserve your seats today.


Reviewed by associate critic Scott W. Davis of The Column by John Garcia

The time is the late 5th century. King Arthur is the ruler of England and he’s out to find the one thing in life to complete him, a wife, and then build a kingdom that all would be proud of. He finds Guenevere who fills that void he so desperately needs to fill. First comes love, then comes marriage, then come Lancelot to stop the baby carriage. Plaza Theatre takes up the challenge of bringing this classic back to the stage and does it with all the fanfare it deserves.

Camelot is one of the most well known works from the famed Lerner and Loewe. Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music) wrote Camelot in 1959 and it proceeded to Broadway the following year. The team, along with Moss Hart who directed the Broadway version in 1960, adapted T. H. White’s “The Once and Future King” as their project, Camelot. Camelot opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre on December 3, 1960. After 873 performances, the show closed on January 5, 1963. In 1961 Camelot represented at the Tony Awards with five nominations, four of which came to fruition as winners. Richard Burton won for Best Actor in a Musical, Oliver Smith won for Best Scenic Design (Musical), Adrian and Tony Duquette won for Best Costume Design (Musical), Franz Allers won for Best Conductor and Musical Director, and Julie Andrews was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical. It was revived several times as well as toured the US several more times. The most notable revival happened in 1993 where famous singer, Robert Goulet, who portrayed Sir Lancelot in the original production, played King Arthur, making him the only man to ever play both of Camelot’s lead characters on Broadway.

Plaza’s version doesn’t have a veteran like Robert Goulet. It did, however, have an extremely talented group of actors and creative team behind it to make a good production. The first impression when walking into the space was one of excitement due to the colors being used around the acting area. JaceSon P. Barrus’ set was minimal but did work well for a show being done in the round. A tree on one side of the room was lit beautifully in a dark blue hue. Throughout the entire grid Mr. Barrus weaved branches to make the space look like it was canopied under trees. Catty corner to the tree was a big stone wall. Around the room on the walls were several shields painted on the walls depicting many of the Knight’s of the Roundtable. There was a mural painted in the center of the room that had the same shields in a round pattern and that was it. It wasn’t until the show started that you realized the stone wall was an entrance that spun 360 degrees to make several different scenes in front of it. Every other scene simply used furniture to create the rest of the scenes. The minimal set made great use of the space and gave the actors a lot more room in which to play.

Lighting and sound were unfortunately a disappointment. Sound Designer G. Aaron Siler did a good job with the design. The problem was the feedback that plagued the production from time to time. Cameron Barrus’ lighting was extremely below par. With the massive amount of instruments in the grid thought for sure this was going to be a well lit show but no, it wasn’t. Several of the acting areas were dark and the lighting was so uneven through the show that you started to get a headache from watching the actors walk in and out of the dark spots. Secondly, the timing of the cues was slightly off. Most transitions were quite fast which, in the end, made the cues look rather odd.

Where this show takes a swing in the other direction is with costumes and props. Tina Barrus’ costumes were flawless and all represented the period well. King Arthur’s wardrobe looked expensive, with satin trim pieces around his tunic. The knights clothing was extremely good as well. Guinevere’s wardrobe dripped elegance. In the very first scene, the powder blue dress she wore was stunning. Every piece fit each character perfectly. The armor was incredibly well made. You could tell by how well the pieces fit that each had been hand made for each actor. Now I couldn’t tell what material she used to make the chainmail shirts on the knights but it was perfect. I thought it was real chain mail till I got a close up look in the lobby after the show. The costumes took this show to a whole new level.

Properties Designer Tammie Phillips deserves kudos. While there were not as many props as costumes, Ms. Phillip’s attention to detail could be seen in every piece used. All of the cutlery, from the swords to the daggers, looked, resembled, and even sounded like the real thing. The Excalibur sword was massive in size which made it a prominent piece whenever it came out.

At first I couldn’t understand why you would have a music director when all your music is canned. Dick Helmcamp’s time was well spent getting this group of actors to sing masterfully, and wow, what an amazing group of vocalists. It can be challenging with a large group to have that level of continuity. Camelot’s actors harmonized extremely well together and never lost sync with each other. Choreography for this production was rather basic at times. There is a great sword fight, though, that was choreographed wonderfully. Rachel Hunt’s high intensity fight scene was a blast to watch. There was so much action going on in three different places, your eyes got lost in the action. She made sure that no matter where you sat you got to see some action up close.

Luke Hunt’s direction may be slightly lax on the tech side but it’s not that way with the acting. The show ran like clockwork due to his diligence in the timing of the show. The scene changes were extremely quick which kept lag time down. Mr. Hunt’s blocking was quite stellar as well. Nothing got mundane or stagnant, and no matter where the actors were standing he made sure that they opened up to all sides of the audience. The choices made as far as casting goes were near perfect.

King Arthur definitely commanded respect in this production. Hillard Cochran did a great job in his portrayal of this icon. You got two things out of Mr. Cochran during this show – great vocals and movement. He was able to tone down his singing when he had to or belt when it was necessary. His blocking and audience awareness is not the only movement I’m talking about. During one scene he is dancing with Guenevere and Mr. Cochran made it look easy. The choreography during that whole scene was very complex but he never broke a sweat or missed a beat.

Sir Lancelot was the other strong male vocal in the show. Joel Lagrone’s deep boisterous voice resonated every time he spoke. While having this bold voice, Mr. Lagrone was still able to tone down his vocals enough to not overpower the rest of the ensemble during numbers. His dedication to the role showed not just with his voice but also visually. Mr. Lagrone sold the part, with his full head of dark black hair and his facial hair tightly groomed. The minute he entered you knew he was Lancelot.

Meredith Browning takes on the most demanding role in the show, Guenevere. This character is the only character that is onstage almost the entire time. The amount of quick changes this young lady had to go through is astronomical, but not once did she miss an entrance. Vocals once again were spot on. No wavering, no pitch problems, just an all around pleasure to listen to.

Jay A Cornils and Kathy Lemons make very brief appearances as Merlyn and Nimue, The Lady of the Lake, in the show. While being brief, it really was one of the most appealing scenes in the show. Visually, the scene was beautiful, with low-lying fog coming out behind Nimue. But vocally, the two knocked it out of the park. When Ms. Lemons started singing it almost became hypnotic. They were two wonderful singers who’s two voices worked extremely together.

Ozzie Ingram was the driving force behind Sir Pellinore, a knight with an extreme sense of humor. Every time Pellinore entered you couldn’t stop laughing. His ability to deliver those lines without cracking up amazed me. Mr. Ingram, along with Robert Shores, Jesse Bowron, Michael Lain and Nathan Glenn, complete the Knights of the Round Table. All of these gentlemen needed a round of applause for the fight scene they were involved in.

Mordred does his best to ruin things for everyone. David Phillips killed it in this role. He got my best performance of the night award. There were several things that Mr. Phillips did to make this character stand out. First off is his demeanor. He almost took the character to flamboyant but held back enough to where it played as though he’s into himself and himself only. Second, Mr. Phillips was very animated. He was one of the best actors using his hands and the rest of his body to finish telling the story. Finally, his diction was superb. I could hear everything Mr. Phillips said with no problems.

This show wouldn’t, couldn’t be what it is without the participation of the entire team. From ensemble to the leads, every person in this cast did their job to make this musical as good as it was. Plaza Theatre put together a strong production that is audience friendly to all ages. I believe that Lerner and Loewe would be proud of the version of Camelot Plaza Theatre Company has produced.

Audition Announcement: SEUSSICAL the MUSICAL at Plaza Theatre Company



Audition Notice:

Auditions are: May 26th and May 27th, 2014

May 26 & 27th
7pm – 9pm at the Plaza Theatre Company
111 S. Main St, Cleburne, TX
Auditions are by appointment only

Click here to make an audition appointment!

The production is under the direction of Tina Barrus.

Audition Preparation
Auditioners will be asked to come prepared to sing 32 bars of music, preferably in the style of the show. An accompanist will be provided. Auditioners should also be prepared to read cold from the script at the audition. Each auditioner should plan to spend about five to ten minutes auditioning for the Directors.

A call back audition will be held on Saturday May 31st starting at 9am and may last for up to three hours. Those auditioners who the Directors wish to see further will be invited to the call back audition which may last up to three hours time.

Rehearsals will commence June and take place Mon. – Wed. evenings and Saturday mornings through opening. No Sunday rehearsals or performances.

The production will play on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoons opening on July 25th and playing through August 9th.

(some roles may be double cast)

The Cat in the Hat – is the essence of mischief, fun and imagination. The Cat stirs things up, causes trouble, but always sets things right again, helping JoJo to discover the power of his imagination as they create the story for the show together. Looking for a physically adept actor (male or female) to play the Cat, one who will be able to play many comic cameos and is comfortable improvising with an audience.

JoJo – is a “Thinker”—a smart child with a wild imagination. He can be played as being a little bit awkward, a little bit of a loner, or simply a rambunctious kid whose ‘Thinks’ get him into constant trouble.

Horton the Elephant – A gentle giant, rotund and appealing. Think of him as a bighearted blue collar guy who is steadfast and responsible and always tries to do the right thing for his friends. He is imaginative and receptive to the world around him. He is very un-self-conscious. Horton’s view of the world never changes—he believes in its goodness.

Gertrude McFuzz – Very self-conscious and aware that her one-feather tail isn’t perfect. Gertrude changes during the show from a neurotic, nervous and shy bird into one with the power to protect and care for a baby elephant bird and commit herself to Horton.

Mayzie LaBird – Self-centered, selfish and vain, Mayzie will never admit to her own flaws. She manipulates anyone she can (especially Horton) into doing what she wants. But Mayzie isn’t all bad.

Sour Kangaroo – She isn’t really sour at all. She’s just got a lot of attitude. She’s loud, brassy and a lot of fun.

General Gengus Khan Schmitz – General Schmitz is bursting with pride at the military academy he runs, and the boys he turns out. He is not sadistic, mean or abusive. He is proud! He is doing the right thing for his boys! He is making the world a better place! This makes him a comic character, because it’s clear he’s so misguided. Please don’t play him as a villain or bully.

The Wickersham Brothers – These are not bad guys! They’re simply a lot like kids who tease, play pranks and get a kick out of making mischief, although often at others’ expense. They enjoy hanging around with one another, making music together on the street corner, and playing off one another.

The Mayor of Whoville and the Mayor’s Wife – parents trying hard to raise a difficult child in a difficult world. They may get aggravated with Jojo, but they love him dearly and try to do the right thing, even if it turns out to be a mistake.

Ensemble – they play the Whos, Jungle Creatures, and Various Cameos. These characters are a wide range – in age, look, and vocal parts. Some of the roles will be featured dancers and singers as well. Some roles included in this are the Bird Girls, Yertle the Turtle, Cadets in Schmitz Academy, The Grinch, Cindy Lou Who and Vlad Vladikoff. Many of the ensemble may play between 2-5 roles in the show.

Casting Announcement: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at Plaza Theatre Company


Plaza Theatre Company is pleased to announce the official Cast List for its upcoming production of STEEL MAGNOLIAS. The show is under the direction of Taffy Geisel and will play the Plaza stage from June 20th thru July 19th. More information is available by visiting www.plaza-theatre.com or by calling the Plaza Box Office at 817-202-0600.

The cast for STEEL MAGNOLIAS is as follows:

Truvy – Angela Burkey

Annelle – Brianna Knapp

Clairee – Kate Hicks

M’Lynn – Trich Zaitoon

Shelby – Kristy Lynn Mills

Ouiser – Shauna Lewis

REVIEW: Paul Gnadt says: “Greenawalt Sparkles In Plaza’s ENCHANTED APRIL”

EA Cover

ENCHANTED APRIL opened at PlazaCo last weekend and the reviews for the show are coming in strong. Patrons are telling us that they weren’t sure what to expect with a show that they were unfamiliar with, but that they are walking away having loved this magical and beautiful show. Critic Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers echoes those sentiments with his fabulous review of the show. We hope you’ll examine these positive reports of the show and perhaps reconsider your willingness to attend a show that may be unknown to you. As the critics are saying: it’s worth giving something new a chance. Read on for a great review of the show and then call us at 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com to reserve.

by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers

There were hints and glimpses that she could do it, and now she has.

Stacey Greenawalt, who could be seen just on the periphery of the spotlight in her previous 13 Plaza Theater Company productions — the detective in “Clue the Musical,” the confused and frustrated fiancee who beats the daylights out of a corpse in “Cash on Delivery,” or the wealthy manipulator in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” — displayed the comic timing, expressiveness, charisma and energy that made you believe she could be the centerpiece. She can.

Albeit surrounded by some of Plaza’s most talented and veteran actors, Greenawalt is everything you knew she could be in PTC’s production of “Enchanted April,” playing through May 10 at the Plaza Theatre in Cleburne.

With only eight actors, “Enchanted” is perfect for the intimacy of PTC’s 160-seat theater-in-the-round, and, as usual, the set designed by PTC cofounder JaceSon Barrus is clever and functional, serving its purpose without taking your attention away from the dialogue.

And the dialogue is fast, furious and often funny in this humorous play with dramatic undertones that, at first, appears to be about a girls getaway, but ends up being about facing problems, transformation and hope for tomorrow.

Greenawalt is Lotty Wilton, who lives with her very proper and very chauvinistic husband, Mellersh, (PTC fan favorite Jonathan Metting, who apparently lives at the Plaza and can handle with ease whatever part he’s assigned) in dreary, dark and damp London in 1922.

It’s raining as Lotty, tired of being the target of what today would be called psychological abuse, reads a “for rent” ad for a castle in Italy called San Salvatore and decides to spend her meager rainy-day fund to rent it for one month.

When Lotty sees Rose Arnott (played by the talented Tina Barrus) reading the same ad, she persuades Rose to join her, unlocking a dark history from Rose’s past that may have led to her tormented present.

Barrus, also a cofounder of PTC, is usually responsible for the company’s costumes, and she is this time, too, giving herself and the others outfits that fit the mood of the situations of Act 1, then transforming the outfits to just the right message for Act 2.

The scene where Lotty and Rose tell their husbands (Metting and the versatile Jay Lewis as Frederick Arnott) they are going away to Italy for one month is one of the most clever ever at the PTC. Both couples are on stage simultaneously but, as the spotlight jumps back and forth from one to the other, they alternate in delivering the news and dealing with the expected reaction.
It is a powerful scene with an unusual technique that requires split-second timing and delivery.

To help with expenses and make things interesting and entangled, Lotty and Rose take on two additional women — the street-wise Caroline Bramble (played smoothly by Jennifer Fortson) and the aristocratic Mrs. Graves, a role made for Trich Zaitoon, who can be overpowering when needed and dripping with sugar when necessary.

Completing the cast are Joann Gracey as Constanza, the Italian-speaking maid whose physical expressions need no interpretation, and Michael McMillan as Antony Wilding, the castle’s owner whose manners are impeccable and perceptions even sharper.

Although Bramble and Graves have taken the best rooms at the castle for themselves, Lotty and Rose are having such a good time they invite their husbands to join them — which causes a problem because Arnott (Lewis), who travels a lot promoting his salacious novels, is having a romantic relationship with Bramble. A scene when Metting decides to take a bath and the tub blows up is PTC physical comedy at its best.

Weaving the tapestry together is Greenawalt, using an energy that so connects with the audience that you just want to leave your seat and go rowing with her, or shopping, or for a walk, just to feel better.

As you would expect from a British comedy, all ends well, but it takes some laughs and serious introspection to get there.

“Enchanted April” is enchanting, indeed. See it.

Written by Matthew Barber from a novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim, directed by JaceSon Barrus with assistance from Jay A. Cornils, with costumes by Tina Barrus, with sound, set and lights designed by JaceSon P. Barrus, “Enchanted April” is presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with a matinee at 3 p.m. Saturdays through May 10 at the Plaza Theatre, 111 S. Main St. in Cleburne.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for age 65 and older and high school and college students, and $13 for children age 13 and under — and can be purchased online at http://www.plaza-theatre.com, or at the box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, or by phone at 817-202-0600.