Theatre student finds acting outlet in local venue
For Gabi Urias, the best places to practice vocal harmonies for an upcoming performance are in her car and around the house.
The theatre junior is currently understudying for a role in “Buccaneers of the Caribbean” at the Gaslight Theatre in downtown Tucson. Urias is the first UA student in at least four years to serve as an actor in the theater’s production.
“Buccaneers of the Caribbean” is a comedic dinner theater show that involves audience interaction, Urias said. She is understudying for the role of Billie, a young lady who falls in love with a captain and disguises herself as a sailor in order to be close to him. The show will run through Nov. 10.
Gaslight performances, Urias added, are a mix of old and new styles.
“It is for everyone,” Urias said. The Gaslight Theatre has been a local theater venue for more than 30 years. “The theater is unique to Tucson. For out-of-state students, it is a cool Tucson thing to do.”
This opportunity to work with professional actors and entertainers at the Gaslight Theatre has taught Urias how to prepare herself for a role.
“The experience challenges me,” she said. “Being an understudy makes me hungry to be onstage.”
As a freshman, Urias performed in the UA Studio Series production “Short Attention Span Theatre.”
For the show, Urias, along with the cast, had to write her own script, she said. She was inspired to write scripts after that experience.
Theatre junior Ryan Kinseth believes Urias’ music writing and singing showcase her talent and emotions.
“She is very determined to get it right the first time,” Kinseth said. “She goes in 100 percent.”
Although Urias takes her performances seriously whenever she’s onstage, Kinseth said that Urias is a “goofball” backstage — a result of her bubbly personality.
“She always has a good time and plays around with everyone,” Kinseth said.
Urias plays the guitar and regularly posts videos of her musical arrangements on her YouTube channel.
“Gabi is a great musician,” said theatre junior Kelsie Williams, who has worked with Urias on various UA productions.
Most recently, the two have performed together with the Tucson cabaret group “Musical Mayhem.”
“Her videos have a quirky, unique spin,” Williams said. “She is a fireball full of energy, passion and fun.”
With an expected graduation date in December 2014, Urias said she’s got her eye on Toronto as a place to pursue an acting career. She said she plans to keep an open mind and try a variety of disciplines.
“I hope to experience as many kinds of theater as possible,” she said. “Musical theater, straight plays, devised theater, shows on controversial topics, classics, everything.”
— Follow Arts reporter Erin Shanahan @ItsErinShanahan