You probably know how the play “Romeo and Juliet” turns out.
Let's just say it's not a happy ending.
There's another play, a real-life one called “Tim and Deb,” that has turned out way better.
Tim Duggan and Deb Kaplan met in 1973 while both played parts in a production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Tim was a 30-year-old captain stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. He had taken up acting earlier in his military career while stationed in North Dakota and Germany.
Deb was 21 and working in Omaha. She had graduated a few years earlier from North High School, where she had acted in plays such as “The Taming of the Shrew.”
Deb had just gone through a breakup with a guy she'd dated for two years and was feeling down.
Her mother had an idea. She knew Deb loved acting, so she contacted Dwayne Ibsen, who had been Deb's drama teacher at North.
Dwayne was directing a production of “Romeo and Juliet” at the Chanticleer Theater in Council Bluffs. Deb's mom asked if he could find a part for her daughter to take her mind off the breakup.
Dwayne came through and found her a part as a “street person.”
Tim had already landed the part of Benvolio, one of Romeo's buddies.
Theater productions build camaraderie, and Tim and Deb became friends.
Deb figured Tim was just a guy about her age who loved theater. Tim celebrated his birthday during rehearsals, and Deb was surprised to learn he was 30 and a military officer with his own home in Bellevue.
Tim hosted a cast party after the final night of the play. The next morning he asked Deb out.
For their first date in spring 1973, they dined at the old Golden Apple, an upscale restaurant near 90th Street and West Dodge Road.
They shared a pitcher of sangria and hit it off.
They started dating regularly, and their love of theater bonded them.
Tim was romantic and would quote from plays such as “Hamlet,” telling Deb, “Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
He'd read her poems like “The Hound of Heaven,” with lines such as: “But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair, With dawning answers there, Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.”
Four months after their first date, they married on the front lawn of an Omaha parsonage. They have two children and two grandkids.
Tim continues to act in local theater, and Deb plays Queen Elizabeth I in an annual madrigal dinner.
The favorite play for these two actors remains their own, one that's had a nearly 40-year run.
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