When Mark Fleischer became artistic director of Plano Repertory Theater in 1993, it was an all-volunteer community theater. As a graduate of Plano Senior High School in 1987 and Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 1991, and with a stint as intern at Dallas Theater Center in 1988 under the direction of Adrian Hall, Fleischer was recruited to take the reins at Plano Rep. In nine years he has taken the theater to the status of an SPT-Level 4 (Small Professional Theater) organization. This means each production must have on board a minimum of two Equity actors (members of Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States) and one Equity Stage Manager. Mark heads a staff of six employees, of which five are full-time, plus two apprentices. He also does an occasional freelance gig as a director for other theaters. Of his work Fleischer says: "I've had a great time here at PRT (which has) given me the chance to explore. I really believe theater is a part of the community (and) I'm very proud of how the community has accepted and supported us. I like that we created a place where actors like to work, an environment where you want to work, and there's respect for the artists." He said the theater's mission is to "entertain, challenge, and inspire. Theater is what happens between the air and the audience; it's that magic."

That magic has been taking place recently in PRTs new space at The Courtyard Theater, which is no longer limited to a proscenium stage and can adjust the configuration to thrust or arena staging. That magic was evident in their June 2002 production of Some Enchanted Evening, a kaleidoscope of music by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and a well-received production of the just-closed, Not About Nightingales, an early Tennessee Williams drama. This will be followed by A Chorus Line, the third-longest-running musical on Broadway. With music by Marvin Hamlisch, the show is a delightful pastiche of song and dance spawned by renowned choreographer, Michael Bennett. In 1974, Bennett invited 24 dancers to a rented studio to discuss their personal and professional lives. These recorded conversations were transcribed and became the basis of the book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, one of Bennett's dancers. Lyrics were by Edward Kleban, the subject of the current Theater Three production of A Class Act. A Chorus Line, by the way, has the distinction of being the first show on Broadway to utilize computers in the control booth.

A Chorus Line will be followed, October 17-November 3, 2002, by Anthony Shaffer's Tony-Award-winning mystery thriller, Sleuth.

Their holiday show December 5-22, 2002 is Daniel Sullivan's hilarious comedy, Inspecting Carol, about a second-rate theatrical troupe's production of the Dickens classic, in which anything that could possibly go wrong does.

Fleischer has led Plano Rep to a position of being one of the most outstanding small professional theaters in the Metroplex.

For more information, call (972) 422-7460 or visit www.planorep.org.

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Key Subjects: 
Plano Repertory Theater, Mark Fleischer, A Chorus Line, Texas
Writer: 
Rita Faye Smith
Date: 
August 2002
Subtitle: 
This Season at TX's Plano Repertory Theater