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The Cost of Living© is a one-act play, first performed in Anchorage, Alaska on September 9-12, 1992 at Cyrano’s Off Center Playhouse. It was an all-volunteer effort, and all proceeds were donated to Hospice of Anchorage and the Anchorage Women’s Breast Cancer Support Group.

The script, developed by Lily Ann Neilson and Catherine Stadem, was based on letters and interviews with 25 Anchorage breast cancer survivors. Lily Ann Nielsen and Catherine Stadem retain all rights to The Cost of Living© (1998).

Betty, Carol, Dee and Ellen are fictitious, composite characters invented from bits and pieces of interviews with real cancer survivors. The character of Abby is based on her actual letters written before her death in April of 1993.

Carol Carlson acted in the inaugural production and had longed to see this courageous story performed in Sanford. Several years ago, Carol contacted Catherine and Catherine agreed to permit her the rights under Willing Hands, Inc. The conditions of this agreement were that Willing Hands would grant all profits to a charity or charities of their choice.

Willing Hands’ mission is to bring people and projects together to build community and to raise funds for at-risk families in Lee County. All proceeds from this event will be shared between Central Carolina Hospital’s Auxiliary Cancer Care Fund and the Lee County Highway to Healing Fund. Willing Hands will be looking for sponsors to support its efforts, as that is where the real money is raised. The ticket price for this benefit is $25.

The ArtStudio, located on the 4th floor of 102 South Steele Street, has graciously donated their beautiful, intimate space for this production.

For every person who has taken this journey and come out the other side, we look forward to seeing you. For those who have loved and lost someone through this process, we believe you will feel comfort through this experience and finally for those who just want to come out and be entertained by a beautifully written play, we welcome you.


Tickets for October 13, 8 PM



Tickets for October 14, 8PM






Tickets for October 15, 2PM




Sponsorship information can be found here.