A Birthday Gift to Remember!

What’s the best Birthday Gift you’ve ever gotten?

Some might say it’s a new car or a vacation. Others might say it was new earrings or a good book. For some, it was a card, a phone call or a home-cooked meal by someone who, lets face it, really doesn’t know how to cook. Some years it is a complete surprise, others it is sweet, but mildly generic. And then, there are those years you get a play from your husband written just for you.

Wait a minute. What was that?

Yep, you read correctly. A play. From your husband. Written just. For. You. Or at least, that was the case for theatre-loving Seattle native Benita Staadecker, whose husband Charles commissioned a play for his wife for a memorable and long-lasting 60th birthday present.

Benita and Charlie Staadecker

It was all a part of a new program launched by ACT Theatre in Seattle, where anybody could commission a play to be written as a gift. Enter, Steven Deitz, one of America’s most widely-produced and published contemporary playwrights. It took Dietz two years to write the script, but on Benita’s birthday, he sent her the first scene.

Becky’s New Car is a whirlwind ensemble comedy, which follows a middle-aged woman, who is working at a car dealership when a man walks into the shop and turns her life topsy-turvy. When the man, who just happens to be a gazillionaire, assumes incorrectly that Becky is a widow, Becky doesn’t exactly steer him in the right direction. Soon, Becky finds herself muddled up in a double-life whose families become hilariously and impossibly twisted together!

L-R: Mark Thornburg as Joe Foster, Kim Jubenville as Becky Foster, Mike Markey as Walter Flood

Now don’t start thinking this is a true story of the Staadeckers! The couple put no restrictions on the playwright, apart from keeping the play more light than dark. Dietz spun the idea from all of those “little stories” that turn up in newspapers about everyday people having secret double lives.

Enjoy Benita’s birthday present as it appears in the Howard Drew Theatre at the Omaha Community Playhouse!

Becky’s New Car runs August 19–September 18, 2011; Thursday–Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, or visit the Box Office located in the southeast corner of the Omaha Community Playhouse at 6915 Cass St.

Article by Deborah Trecek

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