Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

The Plaza Theatre

Florida based producer Alan Jacobson announces the opening of the new Plaza Theatre in Manalapan. The 252-seat theatre will be located in the Plaza Del Mar Shopping Center in the former home of The Florida Stage. Those saddened by the loss of The Florida Stage when it closed in June of 2011, after moving to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, may now rejoice in having a new theatre to call home.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to have a space with a phenomenal location and a great market. I will be filling a void in Palm Beach county's professional theatre scene by producing and presenting comedies, small musicals, musical revues, cabaret shows and special events. We will operate as a hybrid of a regional theatre that produces its own shows and a performing arts center that presents," said Jacobson.

Jacobson says that the goal of the Plaza Theatre is "to provide entertainment for the ever changing theatrical audience—to create diverse programming that people of all ages can come to see. To both entertain the existing audiences and create new theatre audiences. Our theatre will be a place where local producers and writers can have a voice, perhaps presenting new works or stage readings. Each of our seasons may be different, based on show availability and audience response. We don't want to offer a season that is narrow in scope, but rather an eclectic mix of self produced and hosted productions aimed at offering entertainment that younger generations will want to see for years to come."

Jacobson hopes to be self-sustaining, covering basic operating expenses through ticket sales and classes. His operating budget has not yet been set but he will be opening his first season with a small staff as he establishes the new theatre. The scheduled March closing of the nearby Ocean Avenue bridge for lengthy repair may slow traffic a bit, but not Jacobson's optimism. He has already received a $10,000 donation and is fielding multiple calls from parties interested in bringing their shows to The Plaza Theatre.

The Plaza Theatre interior
The Plaza Theatre is also planning a full performing arts conservatory offering private lessons, classes and productions for students age 7-18. Melissa Jacobson, a seasoned voice teacher and acting coach, will be directing the theatre's educational program.

The Plaza Theatre has scheduled their grand opening for February 17th, when it will kick off its inaugural season with Tony Award winning actress Donna McKechnie (A Chorus Line) in her one-woman show My Musical Comedy Life. The show will run February 17-18, with the theatre also offering a master class with Ms. McKechnie.

The Dreyfoos School of the Arts troupe "Dreyfoos to Go!" will perform on February 14th. Future offerings planned this season at the Plaza Theatre include the Neil Sedaka revue Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, which will be moved from Sarasota for a Manalapan run March 1-18; the one-man comedy Defending the Caveman; and Food Fight: A Musical Comedy For Waist Watchers!. There is also Jacobson's tribute to Barbra Streisand, Bette Middler and Carole King called Barbra, Bette and Carole: Don't Rain on Our Parade, which he has presented regionally, and a 1950s revue entitled Music! Music! Music!. Jacobson is working on developing a 1970s revue and co-producing a revue based on the music of Barry Manilow.

Alan Jacobson is an experienced theatrical producer who founded both non-profit and commercial theatrical production and entertainment companies. Since 1993, he has produced more than 80 shows both locally and out of town. His shows have featured well-known local actors as well as Broadway and Hollywood stars. Two of his shows, If You Ever Leave Me, I'm Going With You starring Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna and Down the Garden Paths starring Eli Wallach, both moved To New York.

In 2003 Alan turned the international hit comedy Beau Jest into a musical, and produced the world premiere at the Hollywood Playhouse. He also wrote and produced the show Food Fight: A Musical Comedy For Waist Watchers!, which had its world premiere at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, Florida, and has had toured regionally since. He has also produced and directed numerous cabaret shows at various venues across the country through his company All Star Entertainment.

The Plaza Theatre is located in the Plaza del Mar, at 262 S. Ocean Blvd., in Manalapan, Florida. It is a 252-seat, not-for-profit theatre, employing local and non-local actors and actresses. Tickets for all coming Plaza Theatre shows will go on sale Jan. 9, 2012. For tickets and information you may contact the theatre by phone at 561-588-1820, or visit

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere