World Premiere Documentary Play, ‘GAGE COUNTY, NE’ Addresses 1985 Murder Case

Community Players, in collaboration with director/playwright Cecilia Rubino, invites audiences to reflect on the events that followed the tragic homicide of Helen Wilson in 1985 with an original production – “Gage County, NE.” An ensemble of local actors will present this documentary play for one weekend only: Aug. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 15 at 2 p.m.

The director and cast want to emphasize that the production will not dramatize the crime itself. The documentary play “Gage County, NE” is based on court records, investigative materials, news reports and first-hand accounts, and examines the circumstances that led to the conviction of six people, commonly known as the Beatrice Six, and the subsequent events that made national headlines and continue to affect the community today.

All performances will be filmed for an upcoming documentary series. A Q&A with the director and cast will be conducted after the opening night’s performance. The box office, located at 412 Ella St., Beatrice, is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. and two hours prior to performances. Reservations can also be made by calling (402) 228-1801 or online at

“This is Beatrice’s story. And it’s a complex story that has reverberated throughout our community and our economy,” Jamie Ulmer, Community Players managing artistic director, said. “There are many points of view of what really happened and who’s responsible. I hope with this play the audience will see that things are rarely black and white. There are many shades of gray. By the end of the play we want the audience to feel the impact of this collaborative process as much as our cast and crew has felt.”

“The Community Players is an absolute gem of a community theater which uniquely serves Beatrice, all of Gage County and the state of Nebraska,” Cecilia Rubino, writer and director of the project, said. “It’s been a real privilege to work with this wonderful group of actors to develop this new documentary theater piece. The process has instigated all of us to grapple with lots of essential questions, re-evaluate our preconceptions and to engage in a dialogue about how a traumatic event can affect people over time and across generations. We look forward to sharing performances of ‘Gage County, NE’ with the Beatrice community in August.”

The production features a cast of 16 community members. This show contains language and situations that will not be for everyone. The show is not recommended for young audiences. This production is a special collaboration event, and not part of Community Players’ regular season of programming.

When attending shows at Community Players masks are not required, but encouraged for the general public who have not been fully vaccinated. The theater has returned to full seating capacity for events as of July 1, 2021. For more information, please visit the theater’s website:

Ticket prices are $18 for adults and $12 for students.

Community Players, an award-winning theater located in downtown Beatrice produces a variety of entertainment and educational programs featuring the talents of performers from throughout Southeast Nebraska. For more information, call (402) 228-1801 or visit

Cecilia Rubino is an award-winning writer, director and educator based in New York City. She has recently written and directed theater pieces which have performed at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade and Bruno Walter Theaters, The New Victory @ 42nd Street, Jefferson Market Playhouse, Irondale Theater Center, and the New York Fringe. “From the Fire,” a piece that she wrote and directed, with music composed by Elizabeth Swados, won the UK/Music Theater Awards for Best Music, Best Production and Best New Musical at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She recently directed “Selected Monologues” at the Maria Irene Fornes marathon at the Public Theater and “O’Neill in the Village” at the Washington Square Hotel. Rubino received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is a Professor of Theater at Lang College, at The New School.

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