If January has you deep in the winter doldrums, why not check out something a bit melodramatic — like the madcap adventure "The Treasure of the Old Kern River," opening Friday at Gaslight Melodrama.

"It's very fast-paced with a lot of wild energy!" Gaslight's artistic director Michael Prince wrote of the show in an email. "To me, it feels like we've changed up the style of an old-school melodrama, which is exciting. It definitely has the feel of a classic melodrama, but with a bit more oomph and zeal."

Prince said the show came from many ideas, which he baked all together "like a delicious pizza." 

Harkening back to a western-style melodrama, "Treasure" is influenced by Clint Eastwood westerns, "The Pink Panther" films, classic '70s rock 'n' roll and a little Art Garfunkel sentimentality, he said.

In this show, Pappy O'Daniel (Michael Kubik), who's made a living mining the Kern River, hits the mother lode with the biggest piece of gold the county has ever seen. Unable to keep his find under wraps, he's forced to content with Lucretia McEvil (Jennifer Prince) and her two dimwitted siblings, Reed and Rachel (Shawn Rader and Ali Dougherty), who will stop at nothing to get the gold for themselves. With Pappy determined to hang onto his discovery, he is aided by Steven Saintly (Nicolas Winters) and Sarah Serenity (Ann O'Neill).

In praising the cast, Prince made note of Dougherty, who choreographed the production (as well as last month's "Mrs. Claus Saves Christmas").

"... She's done a phenomenal job," he said. "With this show, she really didn't have a lot of time to put the numbers together and she really knocked it out of the park."

Following "Treasure" is the brand-new vaudeville revue "Karaoke Night 5 at The Bluetail Lounge! Leaner, Meaner and Really, Really Loud!" Part of the popular Karaoke Series, this latest installment marks the return of one of the Gaslight audience's favorite vaudeville characters, Carlos, "the poor little fella who's just looking for love and can never seem to find it," played by Jennifer Prince.

Gaslight's latest offering promises to be "a heck of a lot of fun" for audiences, Prince said.

" ... If they'd like to take a break from their lives for a couple hours, let their hair down and laugh their troubles away ... Then this is the place to be!

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

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