Meet Matt Berdahl performing in Becky's New Car

Meet Matt Berdahl, who is performing as Chris Foster in Becky’s New Car. Read on to learn about the rehearsal process, how he’s developing his character, and why you should take a chance on this show!

LA: Where are you originally from?

MB: I was born and raised in Moorhead , MN and have been active in theater and/or music all of my life in some way shape or form. After graduating from Moorhead High School , I made my way to Minnesota State University Moorhead with the goal of becoming an Art Major with an emphasis in Graphic Design. In true “CHRIS” fashion my focus changed between Art, Social Work, Criminal Justice, and Philosophy. In time however I was able to pinpoint where my real passion was, Theater.  I graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre (Musical Theatre, Performance, and Directing with a Dance and Women’s Studies Minor).

LA:  Why did this particular play interest you?

MB: Robert Neu was directing it and Steven Dietz wrote it. One of my favorite theatrical experiences involved small cast work on a Steven Dietz play.

LA:  For those that are unfamiliar with Becky’s New Car can you tell us about the show?

MB: This show is about a “real” family that has to deal with real issues that everyone can relate to. Steven Dietz has the continuing focus of exploring serious issues with comedy. This script is proof that his mission is ever present and well worth the price of admission.

LA: Talk about the character that you play in Becky’s New Car. How have you developed this character?

MB: CHRIS FOSTER is the son of BECKY and JOE. He is a good kid that is in the midst of completing his graduate education. While he has many answers to the life that exists in the script he is still new to manhood and all the hurdles that go along with it.

LA: Talk about your fellow cast. How do you see their characters developing?

MB: This is one of the most diverse cast experiences I have had with Lyric Arts. Everyone is so different. As people we all bring something very unique to the rehearsal room. With that in mind, come our character work, each character grew even more distinct. As an audience member, this is the kind of show where that is greatly appreciated.

LA: What are some of the most impressive elements of Becky’s New Car?

MB: Dietz has a title that many playwrights don’t and that is being one of the Top Ten Most Produced Playwrights in America . Becky’s New Car is a good example of that title with the nature of his versatility on the page and emotional responses conjured from that.

LA: Why should people come and take a chance and see Becky’s New Car

MB: This show is full of many very pleasant surprises. This is the kind of show that the title does not sell it for the average theatre go’er. “Becky’s New Car”… What is that about? The title is very similar to scrolling thru TV wondering what to watch and seeing options that don’t move you. BUT- When you stumble on something of this nature, end up watching it all the way through and then some, it ends up being the kind of title that sticks with you for a very long time with positive memories from all those very pleasant surprises.

LA: What is your New Year resolution?

MB: I have a list that is too long and personal to share. But one of my simple favorites is “NO MORE POP!” I haven’t had any since the ball dropped. It is a great feeling and it is so flippin easy and healthy!

LA: Sum up Becky’s New Car in 3 words?

MB: Consternation, Stupefaction, Halcyon

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

MB: I am the kind of person that likes to experience all facets of life. Over the years I had the chance to perform with multiple summer stock theaters, local and regional companies and even dabbled in film. I then took the opportunity, which was a life experience I would never trade, to focus on children’s theatre with the National Theatre for Children, for whom I toured with for a year. This was a very rewarding experience both as a performer as well as a human being. After living on the road and traveling the country from Boston to Texas , I was excited to put down some roots and embrace the Twin Cities “Theatrical Scene”. This area always has something to offer and I am enjoying the present time with a smile on my face. Theater is my career, my passion, and my hobby. I am glad I can share what I love to do with people on the stage and off the stage.

You and I get out of it what we put into it, enjoy the show… enjoy life.

For more information about Matt please visit his website or find him on FACEBOOK or TWITTER(RealMattBerdahl).

Becky's New Car Review

New Car, New Life

By Roxy Orcutt

There is a huge benefit in going to see a play you know nothing about.  I truly didn’t know what to expect when I went to see Becky’s New Car at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage.  Being unfamiliar with this play about suburban desperation from prolific playwright Steve Dietz, I was pleased to find this play to be funny, dark, sweet and surprisingly interactive, the funny and the dark mixing at times creating a pitch black dark comedy.

As usual, Lyric Arts makes impressive use of a limited stage space creating Becky’s world, which is jarringly ordinary, but that is the point.  We see Becky’s life laid out on stage.  Her home that has all the trappings of a dream episode of House Hunters, big overstuffed furniture, granite countertops, huge fridge.  Ideal, if not for the clothes and magazines strewn everywhere.  The same goes for Becky’s office at a local car dealership, a small, functional desk, a modest laptop and subpar office supplies.   In all this familiarity we encounter in Becky’s New Car, the actors are tasked with creating an engaging world and story, and they rise to the occasion.  Particularly lead actress Kirsten Sawyer, in her sweater sets and Target shoes, is luminous as Becky.  You want Becky to succeed, even when she is doing something less-than-admirable.  The rest of the cast sparkle in their roles, Ryan James Coble as the schlubby, sweet husband who manages to avoid veering into sitcom-y gimmicks, Matt Berdahl, the lazy but smart college-aged son and Matt Mcnabb as a completely off-the-rails co-worker of Becky’s who manages to turn a horrific personal tragedy into the biggest laughs of the show.

The second act of Becky’s New Car, we are brought into a different world, the world of Walter, a widowed millionaire played wonderfully by Bill Marshall, and introduced to two new characters who give the story added depth and a new American way of life, the rich way of life, Walter’s sweet daughter, Kenni, played by Ilana Henckel, and the bawdy Ginger, played by Kate Beahen.   These characters, with their lunches on a brick veranda overlooking the sea and fancy dinner parties, show Becky, or Rebecca as she is known to them, a new life granted to her because of a new car.

Weaving throughout the play is the story of Mrs. Tipton, a tragic character who Becky comes closer and closer to identifying with as the show goes on.   As we reach the end, the story grows more serious and here is where the audience interaction from earlier in the show is nearly forgotten, until it is used to grant some levity in a particular heavy scene, it was done seamlessly by the actors and the caught-off-guard audience member.

Becky’s New Car is a great piece of modern American theater and the cast and crew at Lyric Arts produce a wonderful version.  It will spark conversation afterwards and the character of Becky and her journey, will stick with you for days.

A little bit about Roxy Orcutt: Roxy Orcutt, a self-professed “Professional Halloween Lover” lives in Anoka with her husband, children and various pets, including a black cat, of course.  Roxy runs the website The Halloween Honey, a year-round destination for all things Halloween.

Becky's back!

Becky's back with the latest behind-the-scenes dirt about her life. You can see her tell you all about it in her latest video blog post. You can see her live on the Main Street Stage in January. Becky’s New Car runs from January 11 through 27. You aren't going to want to miss this fantastic comedy, so be sure to call the Box Office or get your tickets online today!