Over-the-top, campy and ridiculous are the Gaslight Melodrama's defining characteristics. That's also how Michael Prince, the theater's owner and artistic director, described "Gilligan's Island." A production parodying the classic TV show is, naturally, a perfect match.
"Milligan's Island" first opened at the theater 10 years ago, but the Melodrama team decided now was the time to bring back the fan-favorite production. The show opened last weekend and runs through Sept. 7.
"Ever since we first did it, we've constantly had guests ask if we were ever going to bring it back," said Prince, who also directs the production. "We don't like to repeat ourselves too much ... (but) it felt like the right time to do it."
Prince called the TV show "one of the greatest American sitcoms of all time" and said the Gaslight parody takes all the best elements of the original and uses those to tell the story.
Just as iconic as the original television show is its theme song, the story of which will play out on the stage as the characters are introduced boarding the boat. Following a hurricane, Milligan (Shawn Rader), the Skipper (Michael Kubik) and the gang are stranded on an island.
Prince said the play's characters are "pretty spot on" compared to their TV counterparts. He and his wife Jennifer Prince will reprise their roles from the first production as Thurston and Dovey Powell, aka the millionaire and his wife. Rounding out the team of castaways is movie star Sofia LaFontaine (Ali Dougherty), the Professor (Adrian Francies) and Julie Ann (Shelbe McClain).
But the castaways will have to face more than the elements and the Professor's inventions on the island. There is also the evil mad scientist, Dr. Magoratorium (Julie Gaines) and her henchmen Boris and Wilson (Chayce Perlis, playing both a human and the "emotional support volleyball").
Prince said even those who didn't grow up watching "Gilligan's Island" like he did can enjoy the play. In fact, after seeing Gaslight's take on the sitcom, they might even be inspired to check out old reruns of the original.
"It's so campy and so over-the-top," Prince said of the show's enduring appeal. "It didn't take itself very seriously."
That might sound a little familiar to anyone who has seen a show at the Gaslight.
"We really pride ourselves on not taking ourselves too seriously. It's a place to escape life for a few hours."
One of the jokes Prince shared includes a running gag poking fun at the fact that the Powells (or the Howells on the TV show) packed an awful lot of luggage for what was supposed to be a three-hour tour. Expect plenty of costume changes for those two castaways.
More humor is added with the play's music, which Prince said will include songs from the '70s, as well as an original song written by musical director Warren Dobson called "Oh My God, Holy Crap, We're Gonna Die" during the hurricane scene.
The music will continue after the show with a revue by Dobson called "The Crown Revisted," a spoof on the royal family.
"The queen is trying to find who her successor will be once she gives up the throne," Prince explained. "It's not anybody you'd think it would be."
"Milligan's Island" is already off to a good start since opening last weekend, Prince said.
"It was a lot of fun; we had great crowds," he said. "We're very happy with our choice of bringing it back."
With the play running into September, there are still plenty of chances to see the production. Anyone who could use a little tropical vacation themselves is encouraged to join the Gaslight team for some fun.
"If you want to just laugh, have a good time and forget the worries of the world and enjoy a couple hours of good old-fashioned fun, this is the way to do it."