Why Garland Saved the iconic Plaza Theater in Downtown

ROGER: If you know anything about Garland and I
say, “Plaza,” you would say, “Theater,” so hop in.
Let’s run downtown–see what it’s all about. The arts in Garland, live entertainment,
you cannot beat it. You cannot beat what Garland has done, especially with the
Plaza Theater. Every little town used to have one and may still have one. I saw,
you know, shoot-em-ups and comedies way back in the olden days, you know, in the
1900s. But Garland took theirs seriously, and they’ve gone in,
spent a ton of money, refurbished it, and it’s available to the citizens to enjoy,
to rent, you come down here get married if you want. So, let’s go inside and then
let’s come back outside–watch the cool lights come on. Cheyenne, thank you for time today. I know
we met you earlier a couple of weeks ago, and then here where we are today is the
renovated Plaza Theater that goes back many many many years. CHEYENNE: It’s used
year-round primarily for children’s theater, for dance performances. We’ve had
people that have used it for weddings, as well. If someone’s not here, you pay the fee,
and go by the rules, and you’re good to go.
PATTY: It was owned privately and it was donated to the city in the–it was the 1990s. Back in the history of the ’40s, they opened it up in the ’40s as a movie
theater, and then in the ’50s it was renovated to pretty much look like it is
now with the neon. It is a performance hall, and that was done in part of the
bond program, and then it took several years. We had it sat there sort of in
mothballs. We put any roof on it because the roof was non-existent and the place
had really been allowed to go downhill, but then we also went in and redid the
whole interior and changed it quite a bit, but we’re real proud of the Plaza. CHEYENNE:
The city actually sponsors free movies throughout the year–about one movie
every other month. They’ll show–it’s a classic movie series, and also, during
the holidays they’ll show tons of holiday-themed films that are– They pretty
much pack the house. It’s nice. It’s a very festive environment. You combine
that with the downtown square’s giant Christmas tree is lit. The whole
square is lit. So people make a lot of memories here. My grandmother saw
movies here when she was–gosh–this would have been
in the mid-60s yeah yeah and she’s like, “Yeah, I used to go to the theater. We
would watch movies with your grandfather.” So it’s still here! ROGER: Well, that makes me feel good, because now I’m as old
as your grandparents, because I was here in the ’60s doing the same thing.
This was the first theater I was–ever came to as a kid, and it would just be
sad to come back and visit it as anything other than what it is. CHEYENNE: Right,
yeah. Someone comes to Garland, and they see the Plaza Theater, like, “Oh okay,
this is a city that actually cares about its heritage. It doesn’t destroy its
famous buildings.” I wouldn’t want to step into something like that that I’ve had a very special moment in my life and figure out that they turned it
into a bad restaurant or something like that. ROGER: Yeah, flea market. CHEYENNE: It’s like, “Okay,
this is still an operating theater.” Like people still show movies here. It
still serves the community as far as– You’re able to see children’s theater
here. You see live performances. If you have a special event and you want to have it
in a landmark, a Garland landmark, you can have it in there. ROGER: I think that says a lot
about the city. What they’ve done here, the investment that they’ve made at the Granville Arts Center, and now, briefly, what was the story on the small theater?
What all goes on over there there? There are performances there year-round primarily
by Garland Civic Theatre. So they do about seven productions a year, ten
performances per production, so just with that there’s 70 shows they’re
programming there per year. And then, Dallas Young Artists is in there right
now, and that’s basically a summer camp for theater kids, and what they do is
they hire some of the best music directors in Dallas to come in and train
these kids on how to act, sing, also how to do stage craft work, lighting design,
makeup, costume, all that stuff, and they put on about 4 or 5
performances of production and it’s knockout. It’s fantastic! ROGER: And I would
venture to say no other small suburb around us probably offers that to the
families of budding theater kids. CHEYENNE: Garland itself, I mean what do people know about
it? Not children–not necessarily children’s theater because you don’t
have an established “this is Dallas Children’s Theater” or this type, but
it’s here, and it’s basically a training ground for
you know soon-to-be Broadway-bound or national touring company style actors. ROGER: Well sure, I mean every kid grows up with soccer fields, and baseball
fields, and football fields, and swimming pools that they can practice their hope
to be soon craft at and Garland you can come here and be thespians. CHEYENNE: Yeah, yeah,
definitely! You can learn that craft. You can learn stage craft. It’s all
there. ROGER: All the more reason to move to Garland. CHEYNNE: Yes! Yes, definitely!
ROGER: Cheyenne thank you for your time CHEYNNE: You’re welcome. ROGER: It’s been great. CHEYNNE: Yeah, my pleasure. Well, everyone, that pretty much wraps up
what we were trying to do as far as letting you know what downtown Garland
has to offer in the way of fine arts, live entertainment, and then we saved
that little crown jewel of the Plaza Theater. We saved that for last because
it’s just so unique. Every town used to have one, but every town doesn’t have one
anymore. So we’re real proud of what our little community is doing and in order
to keep that available for everyone’s use. If you like what we’re doing, please
consider hitting the subscribe button on our channel. Hit the little bell–you’ll
be notified when we drop a new video. We try to do that every week, ten days at
the most. If there’s anything we can do for you as far as answering questions
about life in Garland or the surrounding area, please leave it in the comments. I’m
always looking for good feedback and good suggestions. We’ll all learn
something along the way. Until we meet again, I’m Roger Phillips with Keller

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