West Michigan actors Eric Dawe and Sophia Powers will make their Muskegon Civic Theatre (MCT) debuts Friday, Nov. 16 when playwright Steven Dietz’s 2008 comedy “Becky’s New Car” opens at the downtown Beardsley Theater.
Neither, however, are new to the stage.
Dawe, who plays millionaire Walter Flood, has 50 years of stage experience throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. He has performed leading roles in dramas, comedies and the classics, and sung leading roles in more than a dozen musicals, among them “Guys and Dolls,” “The Fantasticks,” “The Music Man,” “A New Brain” and “1776.”
Powers plays Walter’s daughter, Kensington, a.k.a. Kenni. A theatre student at Grand Rapids Community College, Powers has played such roles as Charmain in “Antony & Cleopatra,” Greta in “Snow White: The Queen’s Fair Daughter” and Anagnos in “The Miracle Worker.”
“Becky’s New Car” features another MCT first, with Martha Kallenbach making her MCT directing debut. Kallenbach has been assistant director for MCT productions of “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” “Moonlight & Magnolias” and “A Christmas Story,” and has performed in MCT shows.
“Becky’s New Car’ centers on Becky Foster, a manager, wife and mother undergoing a midlife crisis; she is frustrated with her life and is looking for a change. Becky meets a wealthy widower who mistakenly comes to believe she is a widow, and pursues romantic involvement.
Becky, who works at a car dealership. Her old car is failing, so she’s looking for a replacement; but, as one of her late friends has noted to her, when a woman “says she wants a new car, she wants a new life.”
From its outset, “Becky’s New Car” frequently drives through The Fourth Wall, the imaginary wall between the actors on stage and the audience in the auditorium. Becky begins by greeting seated patrons. During the course of the show, “Becky’s New Car” becomes participatory as she asks for advice, sometimes bringing volunteers on stage to help with some task.
Also in the show which runs through Dec. 2, are Robin Willi in the title role; Ray Brazaski as Becky’s husband, Joe; Dustin Day as their son, Chris;; Walter Mrotz as Becky’s coworker, Steve; and Teri Gust as Walter’s neighbor, Ginger.
MCT’s production staff for “Becky’s New Car” includes set designer David Riegler, sound designer Patrick Harker, lighting designer Jim Allen, costume designer Ellen Pallasch, technical director Bill Hendon, properties chair Shari Miranda, assistant director and stage manager Leslye Witt, and hair and makeup designers Jennifer Mrotz Dotson and Bill Abbott.