Cleburne’s new downtown theater troupe will perform its first show tonight.
Plaza Theatre Company’s “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” opens at 7:30 p.m. and will play at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. every Saturday through May 19.
Run by Aaron and Milette Siler and JaceSon and Tina Barrus, the nonprofit company performs in-the-round, where the audience is seated on all sides of the stage.
Aaron Siler and JaceSon Barrus had a vision for the company when they attended college in Idaho. Although they went different directions in their careers — because they were geographically separated for 16 years — their passion for theater allowed them to cross paths again a few years ago in Hurst.
Barrus needed audio assistance for one of his performances, and a man recommended Siler for the job.
Barrus said he wondered if this was the same Siler he knew in college years before.
“Aaron Siler ... how do you spell that?” JaceSon asked.
After they were reacquainted, the men began acting in JaceSon’s performances. Shortly thereafter, Aaron mentioned their college dream of opening a theater company together.
“I have a business background and JaceSon has a really creative background,” Siler said.
A few months later Jackie Vinson of Cleburne came to the Hurst theater and told Barrus the Downtown Cleburne Association wanted to put in a community theater.
“We started talking and decided to do a three-day preview of ‘The Man with the Pointed Toes’ in November,” Aaron Siler said.
The show sold out, and the men knew they were going to open the company, Barrus said.
“We actually planned the schedule for the entire year in December,” he said.
The next play will be “Smoke on the Mountain,” which will be performed May 25 through June 30. “Oklahoma,” “The Main with the Pointed Toes,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “A Christmas Carol” will also be performed in 2007.
Auditions for Oklahoma will be May 22 and 23, beginning at 7 p.m., Tina Barrus said.
“All roles are open for males and females, age 14 and up,” she said. “People just need to call and reserve a time to audition.”
JaceSon Barrus said the board wants talent to come from the community.
“We want to be a reflection of the community,” Milette Siler said. “We value the contributions we get from the community, and we appreciate them.”
JaceSon Barrus said they are also looking for people to help behind the scenes.
“We are looking for volunteers to help with concessions, ushering, costuming and props,” Tina said.
Performers and behind-the-scenes workers are volunteers.
“We are part of a new, nonprofit group called the Cleburne Performing Arts Foundation, which was founded by the Downtown Cleburne Association,” JaceSon Barrus said.
The new three-person board consists of three people. Maxine Ammons is the chairwoman, and Charles Wells and Michael Bowles are members.
“Our board is an amazing help,” Aaron Siler said. “They’ve been phenomenal.”
JaceSon Barrus said the Downtown Cleburne Association is excited about having a theater that offers consistent performances all year around.
“We are a theater company,” JaceSon said. “We do more than just put on productions.”
Lolly-Pups Roundup Children’s Theater will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.
“The kids get to talk with the actors,” Tina Barrus said. “And each story offers a lesson for children.”
Tina said she directs the children’s plays that will begin May 5.
“There is even humor in each play for adults,” Tina said. “So they will enjoy them too.”
The Barruses’ daughter, Tabitha, will play the role of LollyPup, the children’s play mascot.
The company will also offer acting classes for children ages 8 to 14.
“We are looking forward to summer camps,” Tina Barrus said. “We will offer a musical theater camp with a performance at the end of the week,” she said.
In the coming months the theater also hopes to offer adult acting classes and a class that will allow 3- to 7-year-olds to become comfortable with being on stage, Tina Barrus said.
“All shows will be family-friendly,” Aaron Siler said. “We don’t have to do ratings on our shows because they are all clean.”
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” follows the famous Peanuts characters through a day in the life of Charlie Brown. Lucy, Linus, Sally, Schroeder, Charlie Brown and Snoopy all make appearances.
The play is under the Barruses’ direction, with musical direction by Cheri Mega and assistant direction and stage management by Karen Trahan. Set, lights and sound are by JaceSon Barrus and Aaron Siler, costumes are by Tina Barrus, and props are by Darcy Farrington.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” features Aaron Siler as Charlie Brown with Curt Mega and Wes Bourland alternating in the role of Snoopy. Milette Siler plays Lucy, Tina Barrus plays Sally, Kyle Adams plays Linus and JaceSon Barrus rounds out the cast as Schroeder.
The play will be presented in Plaza Theatre Company’s temporary home at 208 S. Main St. Parking is behind and adjacent to the location.
Tickets for the production can be purchased by calling the box office at 817-202-0600 and at www.plaza-theatre.com. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for children for all performances.
Reservations are suggested, and box office hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Misty Shultz can be reached at 817-645-2441,
ext. 2336, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
First performance to be held this weekend
Cleburne’s new downtown theater troupe will perform its first show tonight.
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