There are times to laugh and times to cry.
For Beth King, the time to laugh is now.
The actress recently earned a master's degree in acting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where one of her classmates was Jason L. Francis.
Francis passed away in January after losing a battle with cancer.
"I miss him," King said in an interview to promote the comedy "Midlife! The Crisis Musical." "When we first met we recognized that we sort of clicked as friends. That was the last thing he said to me. He wanted me to remember that."
To lift her sorrow, King decided to partake in some lighter stage fare this summer, especially since her final show at UNL was Shakespeare's "King Lear." It was her thesis project.
"One of my best friends had just died, and after doing a huge show like that and having had that huge tragedy ... it makes you want to have some fun," she said.
In June, she played the sassy tomboy nun, Sister Robert Anne, in the TADA Theatre production of Dan Goggin's "Nunsense."
Now, she's one of four cast members in "Midlife," which TADA Theatre will open Thursday.
Written by Bob and Jim Walton, the musical is a series of vignettes and songs about the pitfalls of aging.
"Midlife" calls for six actors - three men and three women - but director Robert D. Rook is staging it with four actors, meaning some cross-dressing will be involved.
Joining King on stage will be Dustin Witte, Cris Rook and Brent Welch.
"The (show is) very fun and very challenging," King said. "I like the challenge because you have to be a different character every single time you come out on stage."
King, 35, is originally from Ralston. She graduated from Dana College in Blair in 1998 with a music education degree.
She earned two master's degrees while at UNL - the other is in vocal performance.
Her credits at UNL included "An American Daughter," "The London Cuckolds," "Carousel" and "King Lear."
"She's a talented lady," Rook said. "She's very, very dynamic on stage, a great character actress. She's equally balanced as far as her acting chops and her music chops."
King doesn't expect to stay in Lincoln much longer. She and her husband plan to move to New York City.
"I have a lot of education now," she said. "I really would like to see what kind of work I can get. I don't expect to be on Broadway in a year, but I want to go and work."
Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jeffkorbelik.