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Must-see monster squad with Gaslight’s ‘Mummy Knows Best’

When monsters take the stage at Gaslight Melodrama this weekend, there’s no need to fear — they’re bringing the laughs. Just in time for the Halloween season, the theater presents “The Mummy Knows Best,” a comedic adventure of classic Universal monsters.

Michael Prince, the theater's artistic director and co-owner, said this show "feels like a cartoon come to life."

"It's kind of like 'Hotel Transylvania' on stage with music," he said. "We really specialize in camp and in this one we really take it over the top. This one is really big and colorful and a lot of fun."

"Mummy" starts with a reunion of the Do-Frightlys, monstrous pals who used to live together, a la "Friends."

The crew includes the titular Mummy (Ali Dougherty), The Bride (Tamara White), Wolfman (Chayce Perlis), Dracula (Adrian Francies) and Frankenstein's monster, Frankie (Michael Kubik). Prince also has a voiceover role as Ghostie Ghost.

Prince said everyone is great in their roles but Francies took his classic character to another level.

"Adrian, his interpretation of Dracula is pretty hilarious and not what we were expecting. He is one of the last one of the friends to arrive and they're all falling all over him."

A tale of reuniting after time apart is something to which a lot of viewers can relate, Prince said.

"They're getting back together and they haven't seen each other in so long, which is reminiscent of what people are going through now, seeing family and friends they haven't seen in a while, coming out of hibernation.

"Then it all goes haywire when the witch shows up."

Witchy Witch, the Wicked Witch of Westchester (played by Prince's wife, Jennifer), along with her minion, Goble Ghoul (Gabe Garcia), is intent on taking over the world and destroying Halloween forever.

It's no spoiler to share that Halloween will be saved in the end. And on the actual holiday, the theater will get into the spirit with extra goodies for attendees. That includes a costume contest for children and adults with prizes, food specials in the Moosehead Lounge and trick-or-treating, with cast members in costume handing out candy to kids.

The show is followed by the musical revue "The PBS Halloween Pledge Drive," written by musical director Warren Dobson.

Last performed in 2014, the revue is one of the Gaslight team's favorites and centers on Thanksgiving characters (a turkey, pilgrims, etc.) who take over for the Halloween characters during their pledge drive "to keep PBS alive."

"They're trying to put on a show for the Halloween pledge drive but it slowly unravels because it's a bunch of people who don't know what they're doing."

It all culminates in "a mashup of Thanksgiving and 'Thriller' all coming together."

Prince said he hopes that audiences walk away knowing that "silly is good."

"It's OK to be silly and let your hair down, just be able to take a break. Enjoy an evening, be willing to laugh their heads off and take a step back from the day-to-day grind."

Since reopening in December, the Gaslight has enjoyed an influx of melodrama newbies along with returning fans. Prince said "Mummy" is a great pick for families new to live theater.

"If you've never been out here before, this show will be a great introduction to the style of storytelling that we do."

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