Theater returns to Tucson

Updated: Apr. 3, 2021 at 1:24 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -It’s been more than a year since The Gaslight Theatre went dark, but the curtains are finally going up.

A year of bottled-up drama is playing out on stage, as The Gaslight Theatre presents “Buccaneers of the Caribbean”. The slight spoof of “Pirates of the Caribbean” is a melodrama with a comedic twist.

“It just feeds your soul,” said Heather Stricker, the general manager of the theater.

Stricker, who is playing “Constance” in the upcoming show, says the last year devastated the entertainment industry. All Gaslight performances were canceled for the first time in 43 years.

Mike Yarema, who is plays “Carbunkle” in the production, was a full-time actor for more than 20 years. The pandemic forced him to put a pause on his passion in order to pay his bills.

“I’ve been out in the real world for a year, started a tree business. I have been cutting down trees using chainsaws ... had a terrible accident,” Yarema joked as he pointed to his pirate hook prop. “So, it’s good to be back.”

During their dress rehearsal on Friday night, several theater workers were overcome by emotion.

“A lot of us were tearing up,” said Lydia Zadareky, who plays “Billy” in the production. “This was something that was better than we ever thought it could be.”

Never at a loss for words on the stage, making it to this point has left the Gaslight Theatre crew speechless.

“We used our very last dollar of our savings account about a month and a half ago and we were looking at having to close all of our venues for good,” said Stricker. “The very next day, our second PPP loan came through and we were literally saved.”

The Gaslight Theater has adopted several safety measures. All performers and stage technicians are fully vaccinated. Actors and actresses don’t share props and try to remain at least three feet apart at all times. Guests can either sit (spaced out) near the stage or enjoy the show from their cars. Stricker says the parking lot production on Broadway Boulevard and Kolb Road can accommodate close to 100 people.

Buccaneers of the Caribbean opens on Sunday, April 4, to a sold-out audience. You can also catch the show several times a week through Thursday, June 6. For more information, click HERE.

Officials at The Gaslight Theatre hope to open their indoor theater to a small audience this summer.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.