With so much uncertainty in the world, who couldn't use a good laugh these days? The Gaslight Melodrama has that and more with its latest show, "The Good, The Bad & The Funny," which opens Friday.
Like so many of us revisiting our favorite entertainment, the theater has pulled another popular show from its archives to kick off the year, said the theater's co-owner and artistic director Michael Prince.
"This is one we always wanted to revisit again," Prince said of the show first put on in 2013. “It’s really a throwback to ‘Blazing Saddles’-type parody of westerns, which we haven't done in a really long time.
“It’s a live-action comedy movie more than a show. That's how we feel about it.”
Set in the sleepy little town of Bakerspatch, where the sheriff has just stepped down and many residents have left after chasing the snow that fell once 22 years before, the show offers a twist on the classic melodrama.
Although the bad guy is as expected — Black Bart (Jay Stodder), the "mangiest villain this side of the Pecos" — the hero is not bar owner Johnny Goodman (Nicolas Winters) but rather the Jolly Mollys (Ali Dougherty, Victoria Tiger, Tamara White and Jennifer Prince), saloon girls turned proprietors.
The foursome, given the same name by their mother, the original Jolly Molly, run the Last Ditch Inn and, with the aid of Goodman and prospector Crusty Joe McGillicutty (Michael Prince), aim to stop Black Bart's plan to take over in order to drill the oil underneath the inn.
A vaudeville revue, "Slammin' It Down at the Blue Tail Lounge," will follow the main show. Musical director Warren Dobson "funkified" the latest in the karaoke series, which centers on those looking for love at the lounge in Pumpkin Center.
"It's always star-crossed lovers who, through the course of their karaoke, find love in a weary world," Prince said.
The Gaslight is currently the only local community theater holding shows in person, which it resumed with last month's Holiday Extravaganza.
Prince reiterated that safety is paramount for the theater, which operates at 50 percent capacity for current productions.
"We want people to know that we are still implementing the safety measures that we did at Christmas," he said. "We're asking adamantly that people are wearing a mask. People started getting lax and we put our foot down. There are still temperature checks at the door."
Social distancing is in place for seating and at the snack bar, which has condiments individually portioned. Frequent use of hand sanitizer, available at every table, is encouraged.
"We want people to really stick to the guidelines," Prince said. "They have been pretty much very respectful, but we just like to continue to reiterate (to follow rules).
"We all know that the stay-at-home order was lifted but not everything is back to normal completely."
After the run of "The Good, The Bad & The Funny" ends March 6, Prince said the Gaslight is planning to move ahead with its new season, as long as conditions remain the same (or improve).
Along with safety, entertaining audiences remains the theater's top priority.
Prince said, "We hope they get a chance to take a break for a couple of hours, enjoy a good time with family and friends."