Becky's New Car actually started out in 2005 as Benita's birthday present. Seattle businessman Charles Staadecker gave his wife a unique gift, commissioning a new comedy by Steven Dietz that eventually vied for the prestigious Steinberg Prize for best new play of 2009. It came to Actor's Theatre late in 2010 – and so did the Staadeckers for one night of talkbacks – with a dream cast that included Catherine Smith as working mom Becky Porter and Jerry Colbert as billboard tycoon Walter Flood, who tempts her to infidelity with his wealth, his heartbreak, and his posh Staten Island estate. It was hard to hate Becky, confiding with us so affably as she mopped her floor, or her empathetic roofer husband, salt-of-the-earth Billy Ensley, clinching his Theaterperson of the Year honors. Pathologically mourning his dead wife, Colbert was beautifully locked into his patrician delusions as he pursued Becky.
The most solid marriage here was a match made in America, between fantasy and materialism. Adding further complexities were Patrick Hogan as Becky's son, a malingering psychoanalyst conspicuously lacking in insight, and Abigail Pagán as Flood's daughter, who adores him anyway. Rounding out the cast were Mike Corrigan as a mediocre car salesman jealous of Becky's amazing success and Katherine Harrison as a fallen socialite hoping to catch Walter on the rebound. Everything clicked perfectly through all the zigzagging twists and complications, cementing Best Comedy Director honors for Sheila Snow Proctor (our 2001 Actress of the Year) in her Actor's Theatre directing debut.