Along with expecting to cheer for the hero and boo the villain, "Anything Goes in Arvin," the new show opening Friday at Gaslight Melodrama, has one other note: Everybody loves Steve.

That even extends to Michael Prince, Gaslight artistic director and the show's creator.

"I do love anything involving the character of Steve," Prince wrote in an email. "The fact that every other character loves him so much just for being Steve has been a real kick in the pants and everyone plays up their love for Steve in very funny ways. I mean, he's just so ... Steve!"

Steve, played by Nicholas Winters, sets the story in motion, when he is reluctantly drafted as the assistant to the newly appointed mayor of Arvin, William "Randolph" Werst (Michael Kubik).

It is "a role Steve does not want, nor do the other citizens of Arvin want the mayor to take Steve," Prince said.

Prior to Werst's arrival, Arvin is a swinging place, less like the real farm town and more of a New York City-style metropolis.

"We're treating Arvin like the great big, little city it is," he said.

The show is a "straight-up melodrama" that hits the ground running, Prince said.

"I had wanted to do something that had everything and the kitchen sink in it for a while and this one sure does. It's a little bit big band, a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll and it tends to live in its own time period."

The show also stars Tessa Ogles and Matthew Thompson as lovebirds Carla and Chris Calamity, and Ann O'Neill and Jennifer Prince as fellow citizens Opal and Hazel Hollandaise. 

Prince said that "Anything Goes," which is the first show of the season, is a great kick-off, promising an evening (or afternoon) of non-stop fun.

"I always think of the season like it's an album and each show is a song on that album. You always want that first song to be a banger and this one definitely is!"

Following the melodrama is the "Otra Ves al Blue Tail Lounge: Karaoke Night IV," the fourth installment in Gaslight musical director Warren Dobson's "Karaoke Series."

It's been a year since the last "Karaoke" revue and it marks the return of a favorite and beloved character from the last one, Carlos, played by Jennifer Prince.

Prince said of his wife's role in the show, "Carlos is a very passionate man, looking for love and Jennifer plays him to the hilt!"

Winters, the Gaslight's newest cast member, also stands out with a rendition of a classic U2 song that "will have the crowd jumping for joy," Prince said.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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