Have fun at Gaslight's 'Hoedown'

·2 min read

Jan. 19—A lot of things happen in Hart Park but what about a hoedown? That's the question at Gaslight Melodrama Theatre with its new show, "Hoedown in Hart Park."

According to Gaslight artistic director and co-owner Michael Prince, this is a "real throwback melodrama with a lot of twists and turns."

"We've got our very ominous bad guy who not only threatens to tear down the hoedown but take over all the oil in Oildale," he said. "The townsfolk who have held the event for the past 85 years must band together to get rid of this shystery fat cat."

As it happens, Prince plays the evildoer Simon T. Slugworth, who through corruption in the county clerk's office has been grabbing up land in his bid for "'dalian domination."

"It's a different kind of challenge. I don't usually play the villain. It was based on who we had in the cast, and it seemed like something fun to do."

Prince's wife, Jennifer, and Tamara White play sisters aiming to take Slugworth down.

"In our fictionalized melodrama universe, there are the O'Malley sisters whose family has been putting on the annual hoedown since it (the park) was built in 1936. They haven't been able to have it the past couple of years since the world has been the way it's been."

The cast also includes the Princes' son, Jack, playing a character of the same name who has eyes for Diane (Maddie Vendsel), as well as Gaslight regulars Chayce Perlis and Michael Kubik.

After the past two years, which involved putting on shows from the previous delayed season, Prince said he is excited to be launching brand-new shows in 2022.

"Hoedown" will be followed by the vaudeville revue "The Last Call at the Blue Tail Lounge," part of the karaoke vaudeville series that finds the eponymous venue in danger of being closed and all the karaoke lovers looking for other options.

As always, Prince hopes that people can enjoy the escape from everyday life that theater provides.

He said, "There is silliness in the world. It's OK to have fun with it, celebrate it.

"Let yourself laugh and have fun with the people you love."

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