;Hot – but no flashes


;The Plaza Theatre
;425 N. Bumby Ave.


;There's more than fresh paint that's new at the long-standing Plaza Theatre tucked into the back of Colonial Plaza, where the marquee read Menopause the Musical for most of the last year. The recent paint job and installation of a new A/C system marks the end of a million-dollar renovation, says Mason Simmons, 27, the theater's manager. The update started last August and has included a new sound system and the addition of a key ingredient – a granite and mahogany bar. Yes, beer and wine will now be served (but there's no smoking), and the Sam Rivers Orchestra has a Sept. 12 date there, among other notable events coming up this fall. What's up?

;;Most of us associate the venue with faith-based activities, after the original Plaza Theatre movie house (with rocking chairs) was closed down after 29 years in 1992 and reopened as the Plaza entertainment hall in 1996 with Christian owners. It was in 2002 that the current owner took over: Bob Cook, a homebuilder in the Clearwater area, says Simmons, and most of the bookings have been faith-based (such as the long run of The Rock & the Rabbi) or family-friendly. Also in 2002, Russell Dayvault, 30, now the general manager, came on board, with best friend Simmons following shortly thereafter. Together, the two of them – raised in the Tampa area – run the show at the Plaza Theatre, and now that they've "put a new dress on the old lady," says Simmons, they're ready to step things up and bring on some adult concert and theatrical fare.

;;In addition to co-producing the September Sam Rivers show, Simmons says they are working on establishing a regular monthly event with Rivers, and they are co-producing Defending the Caveman – the longest-running solo play in Broadway history – in October. Also on the fall agenda: Tegan and Sara, Nov. 12, and Michael Andrew, Dec. 21 and 22.


;Distinguished as Orlando's only for-profit theater, Simmons says the Plaza Theatre has two options: a 272-seat smaller theater as well as the 876-seat main hall with fixed seating – the next biggest theater space in town is the Carr Performing Arts Center.


;"We really want to provide great entertainment for people from Orlando, and we want to provide it in an environment that is comfortable and in an environment [where] people can hear," says Simmons. "We're right off the 408 and right off 50. We're hoping to provide a lot of things that the downtown area currently provides. We virtually don't have any competition."


;— Lindy T. Shepherd

;;Classical PR


;Voces Líricas del Mundo
Zarzuela Arias/Romanzas and La Historia De Aquel Que Se Caso Con Mujer Muda
;8 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Sunday
;La Asociación Borinqueña de Florida Central
;$30-$50; (407) 380-8886


;If classical music of European derivation has never done the trick for you, maybe classical Puerto Rican music might open a vein of musical lust. Not familiar with the genre? There won't be any excuses now that the last-November-born Voces Líricas del Mundo is ready for performances, starting this week with the production of Zarzuela Arias/ Romanzas, contemporary songs from the '20s through the '50s. In a friendly chat, the patient Éttienne Montalvo, one of the founding eight members of the group and the baritone, explained the meaning of a "zarzuela."


;"Actually, it's one of a musical genre of theatrical works, almost like an opera, but there is a lot of spoken dialogue, almost like a musical, but the music is more evolved; it requires a lot of agility and classical training," Montalvo says.


;Is it opera?


;"No, the music in a sense has a lot of requirements of singing opera, but the music itself is very rich and in Spanish, and it has a flamenco feel in a lot of ways," Montalvo continues. "It moves, and the songs are either very comical or passionate – it's very dramatic."


;That's what audiences can expect to hear at the Friday and Sunday performances, at which they can compare zarzuelas to opera, because also performing will be the Puerto Rican opera group that has formed within the larger Voces Líricas del Mundo. Montalvo is involved in the opera group as well; a native of Puerto Rico, Montalvo has studied music at Rollins College and has performed with the Bach Festival Choir and Orlando Opera Chorus.


;The 27-piece chamber orchestra from the Florida Youth Orchestra will accompany the mainland debut of the opera La Historia De Aquel Que Se Caso Con Mujer Muda (which roughly translates to He Who Married a Silent Woman, says Montalvo) by Italian composer Alberto Guidobaldi.

;; — LTS

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 12, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation