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Edmond's Lighthouse Theater reopens, hoping to hook audiences with the light 'Greater Tuna'



"Greater Tuna"
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Through Feb. 14
Lighthouse Theater
844 W. Danforth, Edmond
$15 adults, $12 seniors and students

After building problems prompted a shutdown following its first production of "Billboard" last September, Edmond's Lighthouse Theatre has reopened with the immensely popular "Greater Tuna," set in the fictional small town of Tuna, Texas, and featuring a cast of 20 characters, all played by just two actors.

Lighthouse's name references its focus: light, audience-oriented entertainment. Company founder Darren Park said this decision stemmed from his comedic heart.

"I love to make people laugh, and I like to laugh as often as possible," he said. "I love a really good drama as well, but for a night out on the town, I hope that we can make an audience just enjoy themselves."

Located just north of Edmond's historic downtown, The Lighthouse is an intimate, warehouse-style theater with 70 seats, all of them taken from cars.

"I knew I wanted my guests to be comfortable, and yet with a project like this, cost also came into play, so this was the best answer for both problems," Park said. "Everyone who sits in them can't believe how comfortable they are."

He said that his target audience is couples out on a date, and that the car seats lend themselves to the feel of being at a drive-in movie. The theater also features an art gallery, currently featuring the work of local photographer and actress Crystal Eckert.

Eager to reopen, Park hurried to fast-track a new production and chose a popular play with a small cast. To save time and money, and because he had portrayed all 20 characters in two previous productions of "Greater Tuna," Park decided to return to the stage after a nine-year hiatus. He recruited local actor and musician Matthew Alvin Brown to take on the other 10 roles, and tapped Brian Stockton to direct.

"When Matt signed on, I couldn't believe my luck. I have known him for years and his creativity and professionalism and his timing are amazing," Park said.

Despite its limited cast, he said "Tuna" has proven tough to reel in while also handling the day-to-day business of getting a new theater off the ground, but said the frantic workload proved all the more rewarding when the play opened on Jan. 22.

"Our motto here is 'When it's live, it's special.' We always feel like a concert is better than a recording. Once you see great theater, you will see that it can rival a movie," Park said. "Come out and give it a try. We know we can get you hooked." "?Eric Webb


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