Parker and Cameron Barrus
Plaza Theatre Co. production crew members Parker Barrus, left, and Cameron Barrus check speakers for the theater's upcoming outdoor production of "Forever Plaid." Three additional outdoor shows are scheduled for Plaza this year.
Plaza Theatre Co. returns to action Friday with “Forever Plaid,” which will run at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 3. Tickets, available only at the gate, cost $12 for children 12 and younger and $15 for everyone else. The gates open at 7 p.m. each performance.
The production also heralds the return of the drive-in model initiated by Plaza staff earlier this year but with the twist the patrons, provided they abide social distancing standards, may now get out of their cars.
Plaza’s return marks the playhouse’s latest bout of show-must-go-on determination in a year filled with starts and stops courtesy the havoc of COVID-19, which caused cancellations, schedule rearrangements, production moves and other challenges for the theater.
The COVID-19 shutdown shuttered Plaza’s indoor performances several shows into their run of “Little House on the Prairie.”  Down but not out, Plaza staff went outside the box, and made national news in the process, by stepping outside to offer free spring and summer parking lot shows through patrons enjoyed performances of ‘50s hits, country classics and gospel selections from the comfort and safety of their automobiles. Plaza actors and staff went virtual as well offering a bevy of online programs and entertainment through much of the year.
COVID-19 once again vexed Plaza’s recent return to indoor performances despite measures of limited seating, extra sanitation and smaller cast productions forcing the theater to shut down once again.
The good, and gratifying, news, Plaza Artistic Director JaceSon Barrus said, has been the constant query from residents asking when Plaza plans to reopen.
“It’s looking like we’re probably not returning to indoor productions at least for the rest of the year,” Barrus said. “Which is why we’ve decided to return to our parking lot shows. The difference from the earlier shows is that those were more a night of musical numbers and performances where “Plaid” and the other shows we have coming up are full productions. 
“The exciting thing is that, for the first time, people can get out and don’t have to stay in their cars for the show. We’ll have socially distant pod areas marked off. Families can bring lawn chairs, blankets, drinks so long as they’re not alcoholic. We’ll have vendors on site for food.”
Parker Barrus, who will run sound for the shows, said he’s thrilled to see Plaza back.
“Super glad to be back,” Parker Barrus said. “I know people enjoyed the concert shows we had earlier but this is going to be a little bigger and new experience of an outdoor show.”
His brother, Cameron Barrus agreed, saying patrons are in for a more theatrical production.
“Forever Plaid,” first performed in 1989 in New York, relays the tale of a male harmony group’s last shot at the big time.
“It’s just such a great musical,” JaceSon Barrus said of the choice. “Something to counter the difficult times everyone’s going through right now. Something uplifting and fun for the audience. Fun is what we all need right now.”
Up next is “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” a show based on the songs of Neil Sedaka followed by “A Christmas Carol.”
“We picked those shows because they’re all great and uplifting,” JaceSon Barrus said. “But also because they’re shows we can do with an extreme minimum amount of cast and crew.
One additional Plaza show is scheduled this year.
“We were into our summer teen camp when we had to shut down so they weren’t able to perform the show they were working on, which was “The Addams Family,”” Barrus said. “But now they’re going to have a chance to do that because we’re going to have them perform it on our outdoor stage on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. Which, I guess the delay works out because it’s a perfect play for Halloween.”

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