William Ward's review of The Plaza: A Local Drama in Five Acts
Note: appeared in the May 13, 1887 Orange Tribune:
On Thursday night the new hall over the bank was literally packed with the large audience that turned out to witness the rendition of The Plaza, a local drama, put on the stage by local talent. To say that the audience went home satisfied would be drawing it mild. They were delighted and had good reason to be. We have not space to follow through the acts, but can only give a hasty sketch.
The scene is laid in Richmond, or rather Orange, and opens way back when the country was young. Chowder's Store looked natural to old-timers and Uncle Sam's business was carried on in primitive style. A tenderfoot drops into Richland, fresh from the East, and with his little wife attempts to make his fortune farming. His trials and tribulations, plowing and irrigating are laughable and bring to mind many early experiences. The scene advances eight years and finds our green hands in a much-changed condition. They have been through the mill. Progress has overtaken them. The country has improved and the rush of Eastern people has commenced. One scene showing a palace car and the pulling and hauling of the real estate agents in their efforts to bag the tenderfoot is amusing. Skeebers and Pulvers excursion is shown up in good shape.
The scene ‘Reconstruction of the Plaza' was the best as far as local hits were concerned and our friend Honey got a benefit, which he seemed to appreciate as well as anyone. The auction sale was natural and the wind-up ‘May Day in the Plaza' was a lively scene and called for loud applause. Uncle Eliab was good and Mrs. Powers was a decided favorite. It is useless to particularize as all parts were well carried and the actors proved that they possessed a rich store of dramatic talent, which only needs practice to make it presentable.
The music was exceedingly meritorious, Mr. Barr executing some beautiful selections on the coronet and Miss Jennie Baker's accompaniment on the piano proves her a musician of much more than average ability. The music would have done credit to the best exhibitions of the city, and its excellence was the subject of general remark.
The Plaza will be repeated this Friday evening, and we have no doubt but that the hall will be more than crowded. The proceeds will go to the Plaza Fountain Fund, and the Public Library and will be very acceptable. The ladies and gentlemen who have given their time and talent to this performance are entitled to the unbounded gratitude of the people of Orange.