Long before area attractions and the movie mega-plex, the Plaza Theater gained popularity as Orlando's first and only two-screened movie theater. Located directly behind the now defunct Colonial Mall, the theater provided entertainment to locals on and off for over 40 years. Throughout the years, the theater, small by today's standards, was able to stay active in a competitive market by showing second-run movies and the long running cult classic 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'. In 1992 the theater changed format, performing only Christian-themed shows. After major interior renovation in 1996 the theater became a performance hall for local shows.
The new owners, The Salthose Group plan to bring family-friendly theater to the Plaza. They have been host to the first Off-Broadway musical originating in Florida, the Clearwater-based production of "The Rock & The Rabbi," which opened November 9, 2002.
Written by Gary Richardson and Danny Hamilton, the musical uses both storytelling and unplugged acoustic music to portray the powerful friendship between the apostle Peter and Jesus of Nazareth. The cast of 13 singers and musicians heighten the narrative experience by playing acoustic guitars, Irish and African drums, accordions, bagpipes and more.
The 90-minute theatrical production is told from the vantage point of Peter, the "rock." It conveys a personal and humorous journey about friendship, betrayal, forgiveness and reconciliation.
"The story appeals to all audiences on many different levels. People get lost in the story and are taken to another place, which is what good theatre is all about," says Richardson.
Debuting in 1998, "The Rock & The Rabbi" has already run in New York's Lamb's Theatre as well as the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Hard Rock Live and numerous other sold-out venues.