By Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com
The Cisco Kid (Todd Thompson in black) and Pancho (Mike Yarema) are riding the range and righting wrongs in the New Spain of 1810.
The Cisco Kid, not to be confused with Zorro, that other Spanish-speaking sword fighter in black, has taken command of the Gaslight Theatre stage. Right alongside him is the ever-practical Pancho, Cisco's boyhood friend.
Consequently all the songs have more than a tinge of Latin flavor, filled with the border harmony that is also a part of Tucson. “The Cisco Kid” is set in the ranch lands of New Spain in approximately 1810 when the people were determined to free themselves from the tyranny of European governments.
The French are the villains here, particularly Governor Le Guerre, who wants to set up his own little Napoleonesque empire. He also has a pretty good singing voice, especially when played by Armen Dirtadian.
Matching him note for note is Todd Thompson as the Cisco Kid, in a dazzling all-black three piece gunfighter's outfit trimmed in gold.
Pancho, as you might imagine, is more casually attired in a neo-ranchero ensemble suitable for any occasion. The yellow striped pants are a very nice touch.
All the roles are double or triple cast, but the plot and the music remains the same.
Appropriately enough, the first song out of the box, a tribute to the 1973 hit by War, is recast as “Cisco Kid ain't no friend of mine,” sung by the renegade bandit Torres (Christopher Younggren).
But not long after that, Gov. Le Guerre's female companion Fifi (Heather Stricker) is singing “C'est Si Bon.” Pretty soon everyone on stage is “Livin' La Vida Loca” and a wealthy landowner (Jacob Brown) snarls “Ricky Martin eat your heart out.”
At the Gaslight Theatre, history lessons are always fun.
In this one the good guys line up as Cisco, Pancho, Fifi (who sees the error of her ways) and the daring bandita Rosita (Janee Page).
Being exceedingly brave and having a stronger song list, they outmaneuver the forces of Evil led by Gov. Le Guerre, the deceitful Torres, Senor Aquisto (Jacob Brown), his wife Senora Elena (Erin Thompson) and the woeful Sgt. Pepe (David Orley).
While working their way to the final denouement, we get to see a couple of sword fights, a falling chandelier, a sneak attack, Pancho's incredible disguise as a seductive woman of the night, and Cisco's daring escape from the governor's mansion.
As for the olio, it's time to recall the television yesteryear of “Hee Haw.” Brown in agrarian couture fills the role of Grandpa Jones. Country-styled sophistication arrives with a stately Dirtadian singing “Sixteen Tons,” which was so inspiring a large group of folks who knew all the words jumped in to sing along.
Much less stately were the jokes of Homer and Jethro, especially the ones with a cow theme.
Why did the cow cross the road?
To get from one side to the udder.
Did you hear that the cow had her calf?
Yep, now she's de-calf-inated!
“The Cisco Kid” runs through March 27 with performances at various times Tuesdays through Sundays at the Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. Tickets are $18.95 adults; $16.95 seniors, military and students; $8.95 children age 2-12.
For details and reservations, 886-9428, www.thegaslighttheatre.com