Maybe you recognize these women? Curt Wollan, producer and director of the musical comedy Church Basement Ladies, says you don’t even have to be Lutheran to know them. “I know about these Steel Magnolias of the church because my mother was one of them while I was growing up,” heexplains.
Wollan wanted to create a show that celebrates the church basement kitchen and the women who work there—whether they be Lutheran, Jewish or Roman Catholic. He met with Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, Minnesota authors and humorists who wrote Growing Up Lutheran (Martin House, 1997), about turning their material into a musical comedy. The play, performed at the Plymouth [Minn.] Playhouse, features four characters who organize food in their rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, it chronicles a record-breaking Christmas dinner and other special events.
The play runs through January and stars, from left: Greta Grosch (Mavis—Mrs. Gilmer Gilmerson), Janet Paone (Vivian—Mrs. Lars Snustad), Ruthie Baker (Signe—Mrs. Engelson’s daughter) and Dorian Chalmers (Karin—Mrs. Elroy Engelson).
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