Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sex, Secrets, and Lies--It's All in the Family with Birmingham Festival Theatre's production of Becky Shaw.

Mel Christian directs the third show of BFT's 40th Anniversary Season

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Jan 2, 2011 - Smart, sordid comedy takes the stage at Birmingham Festival Theatre for the third production of their landmark 40th anniversary season. Becky Shaw is a standout in this season: every other play on the 2011-2012 slate has been chosen to honor and celebrate their prior productions during BFT's 40-year history, but this production of Gina Gionfriddo's comedy marks another local premiere, fulfilling BFT's mission to bring new theatrical works to the Birmingham audiences.

The setting is contemporary, the writing is sharp, and the characters are richly comic, dynamic, and dysfunctional. There's Suzanna, the mid-thirties psych student who embraces denial; Max, her financially brilliant but emotionally inept adoptive brother--with boundary issues; Andrew, Suzanna's impetuously-chosen husband, a would-be author with a savior complex; Susan, the domineering matriarch with multiple sclerosis and a decades-younger boyfriend; and the enigmatic, eponymous Becky Shaw, the friendless, family-less, moneyless office temp who extracts exactly what she wants from each of them in turn. Director Mel Christian calls the play "a deftly-plotted comedy of bad manners that promises to entertain, even if you're not exactly certain who to root for!"

Commissioned by the renowned regional Actors Theatre of Louisville, the play had its world premiere at their 2008 Humana Festival of New Plays before receiving a Pulitzer Prize nomination and enjoying a smash Off-Broadway run. Christian has put together a strong cast to bring Becky Shaw to life, including BFT veterans Holly Croney Dikeman (Quilters) in the title role, Annalisa Keuler Crews (Talking With...) as Suzanna, Pam Elder (Tobacco Road) as Susan, and Hal Word (The Great Wrong Way) as Max; Criss Moriss, no stranger to the Birmingham-area stage, makes his BFT debut in the role of Andrew.

Birmingham Festival Theatre prides itself on being the oldest continually-operating community theatre in the metro area. Come celebrate the newest contribution to BFT's legacy when Becky Shaw opens on Thursday, January 12, with a special opening night reception following the performance. The show will run for three weekends on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 pm through January 28, with one matinee performance on Sunday, January 22 at 2 pm. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students or groups of ten or more, except for BFT's Pay What You Can Afford night on January 19 with a $7 minimum.

Tickets may be reserved by phone at (205) 933-2383. For more information, go to