‘Becky’s New Car’ drives the life less traveled at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

Eric Mulholland plays Steve and Suzanne Kelman plays Becky in the upcoming Whidbey Island Center for the Arts production of “Becky’s New Car

Stuck in a lukewarm marriage and average job, middle-aged Becky feels like she’s gotten a flat tire on her journey through life. But everything changes when a mysterious millionaire shows up one night and offers her the ride of her life, an opportunity to live “the life not taken” and a chance she just can’t miss.

A play about life, love and the detours made on the way to happiness, “Becky’s New Car” opens at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts Friday, Oct. 12 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 27.

The play is directed by Deana Duncan and the cast includes Suzanne Kelman, Tom Harris, Jeff Riggs, Phil Jordan, Athena Michaelides, Patricia Duff and Eric Mulholland.

“I think the birth of this play is really interesting,” Duncan said. This is her 12th year as producing/programming director at WICA. She has directed a number of plays at WICA as well as studied directing with Tony Nominated Bartlett Sher in Seattle for two seasons. “In late October 2006, Seattle philanthropist Charlie Staadecker asked his wife Benita for some suggestions for a major gift that he might purchase for her upcoming 60th birthday and she said, ‘Surprise me.’”

And that’s just what Charlie Staadecker did. They had recently spoken with a woman who had commissioned a tuba concerto with the Seattle Symphony and Charlie Staadecker decided to do something similar. He commissioned playwright Steven Dietz to write a play in commemoration of his wife’s birthday. The Staadeckers have attended more than 20 performances of “Becky’s New Car” across the country and will be in attendance at WICA on Sunday, Oct. 14 and will participate in a free “talk back” after the 2 p.m. matinee.

Another event is the fine art exhibit “Paths” and car show from 6 to 7 pm. Friday, Oct. 12. This pre-show event is free.

“Rehearsals have been fun and challenging. ‘Becky’s New Car’ is a smart and highly complex play. Suzanne Kelman (playing Becky) and I have spent hours discussing how we thought it was a nice little comedy and would be so much fun and then once we really started working on it, realizing how deep and truly touching it is. The play takes these crazy turns and catches us off guard, surprises us again and again. It will do the same for an audience,” Duncan said.

As audience members laugh along with the comedic elements of “Becky’s New Car” and find personal meaning in its serious overtones, Duncan attributes the power of the play to Dietz’s writing.

“Steven Dietz is a brilliant playwright. He takes this sort of ‘everywoman’ story and drives it off a cliff. He breaks the fourth wall like no playwright before; a truly 21st century play that has the potential to change the way we produce theater. Plus, these stellar actors and designers, I couldn’t ask for a better team,” Duncan said.

“Becky’s New Car” is supported in part by a grant from U.S. Bank and the 2012-2013 WICA Producer’s Circle.



An unforgettable ride

“Becky’s New Car” runs Oct. 12-27.

Shows are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets cost $22 for adults; $18 senior/military; $15 youths. All seats are $16 for Sunday matinees.

Shows are at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts: 565 Camano Ave., Langley.

For tickets or information, call 221-8268 or 800-638-7631.

For details, visit www.wicaonline.com.


Extra events

Art exhibit and car show: 6-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12. Free.

Talk Back with the Staadeckers, who commissioned the play: after the 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Oct. 14.