This Christmas season marks what Plaza Theatre Co. Artistic Director JaceSon Barrus hopes will be an annual Yuletide tradition for Cleburne and the theater.
Something different this way comes, however, courtesy of “The Christmas Spectacular,” to be presented at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Cleburne Conference Center, 1501 W. Henderson St.
An interactive event in part, the extravaganza makes use of both the conference center’s lobby and the performing arts center.
“This is a much different event from our usual [stage shows],” Barrus said. “I think of it kind of like the old Perry Como Christmas specials every year, more like a holiday variety show with skits and Christmas music, both traditional and contemporary.”
The first hour takes place in the lobby, Barrus said.
“There will be refreshments, hors d’oeuvres,” Barrus said. “The entire lobby is going to be decorated in the style of a Victorian Christmas with strolling carolers, a string quartet and a Victorian Santa and, of course, a large Christmas tree. And we’re giving everyone who attends a commemorative Plaza Theatre Christmas ornament.”
One lucky ticket holder will also receive a gold double eagle coin.
The second half shifts the action to the performing arts center’s stage for more Christmas skits and music. Expect to see a number of Plaza actors from productions past on stage, Barrus said.
An earlier off-site staging and acute need provided inspiration for the spectacular, Barrus said.
“Our first year the [Cleburne Chamber of Commerce] asked us to perform something in the park for Whistle Stop,” Barrus said. “Since we were doing ‘A Christmas Carol’ at that time, we had our actors out in the park to sing some of the songs from the play. Since then we’ve always wanted to do something special like that at Christmas, but never found time until now.”
Plaza’s theater seats, salvaged from the Cleburne High School auditorium, have served Plaza well these last few years, Barrus said.
“We stage about 200 performances each year,” Barrus said. “So those chairs have seen a lot of use and really need to be replaced now, which is no small cost.”
This need made the Christmas Spectacular a fundraiser to help secure the $30,000 needed to replace chairs.
“I helped them develop their funding plan about three years ago, but they did all the work,” said Julie Roberts, a development officer working with Plaza. “So now we’ve looked at certain priorities that need funding and seating is one of the highest.
“So they developed [the Christmas Spectacular], which is going to have a lot of good food, the conference center’s going to be greatly decorated, and I think is going to be a really beautiful and unique event.”
Barrus promises an evening of Christmas memories and fun for the entire family.
“We’re looking forward to it and intend to make it an annual event,” Barrus said.
Rest assured, the theater’s biannual production of “A Christmas Carol” returns Nov. 23 and runs through Dec. 22 at Plaza Theatre, 111 S. Main St.
Barrus also invites everyone to catch Plaza’s production, “Ragtime,” which runs through Saturday, and “A Christmas Carol,” which remains “very faithful” to Charles Dickens’ book.
Tickets for “Ragtime” and “A Christmas Carol” cost $12 to $15. Tickets for the Christmas Spectacular cost $50.
To purchase tickets, or learn more about Plaza Theatre, call 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com.