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DECATUR — Brian Haubner’s first time on the theater stage should be somewhat easy. He will bring to life Tony, a dead man in Theatre 7’s season opener “Lucky Stiff.”

But he doesn’t mind.

“The dead guy doesn’t have to do anything,” Haubner said. “There’s no speaking parts.”

The musical “Lucky Stiff” will be on stage Oct. 11 through 13 and Oct. 18 through 20, at the Decatur Civic Center.

According to April Higgs, assistant director, the family-friendly story is about an Englishman who is stuck in his boring life. “His life gets turned completely upside down when he gets this huge inheritance from an uncle that he barely knows,” she said. “But there is a catch. He has to take his uncle’s dead body on his dream vacation to Monte Carlo.”

If the nephew Harry chooses not to tote his dead uncle around a vacation hot spot, the $6 million will go to Tony’s favorite charity, the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn.

The musical follows the antics to the two as they try to fulfill the dream, all while the head of the dog home tries to find them slipping up.

The musical is based on the 1983 novel “The Man who broke the Bank at Monte Carlo.” Songs such as “Dog Versus You,” “Fancy Meeting You Here,” and “Good to be Alive” tell the story along the fast-paced journey.

Director Morgen Mosley wanted to give the story a local appeal. The set and characters are specific to the Decatur theater surroundings. “That will make our show different than everybody else's,” she said.

Although the main character is English, Mosley believes he is relatable. “He dreams, but nothing really seems to happen for him,” she said. “We all have things in our lives that we feel kind of stuck in.”

The stage has 11 quirky characters adding their own stories to the plot. However, the characters truly representing themselves on stage include five canines from the PawPrint Ministries.

“Having the real-life dogs always adds the element of spontaneousness,” Mosley said. “But they have been trained and they are doing really well.”

The directors found casting the dogs was easy. “But it is everyday, normal stuff you see a dog do,” Higgs said about their performances. “Walking, chasing after a person, finding treats.”

Haubner’s character as a dead man is about as easy going as the dogs. “He looks like a sleeping uncle,” Mosley said. “That’s what they pass him off as.”

However Haubner is still acting, since he will be providing a physical portrayal to the lifeless character.

“But he is very quiet,” he said.

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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