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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Road trip!

'Church Basement Ladies' now on tour

Three years ago Mavis Gilmerson, Vivian Snustad, and Karin and Signe Engelson emerged from the church basement and onto the stage. They, and Pastor E.L. Gunderson, are the characters of Church Basement Ladies, the musical comedy that has since played for capacity crowds at the Plymouth [Minn.] Playhouse.

Paul Nixdorf/Troupe America Inc. <BR><BR>Janet
Janet Letnes Martin (left) and Suzann Nelson have written nine books together based on growing up in the 1950s in Midwest Norwegian Lutheran congregations. Their memories have morphed into the play Church Basement Ladiesnow on national tour. They say they’ll keep working until their daughters say, “Enough’s enough, then” and put them in a home.
But now they’ve even emerged from that stage. The play has been performed in places like Kansas City, Kan., and Nashville, Tenn. In September the national tour opens a production in Chicago (Skokie, Ill.) starring William Christopher (Father Mulcahy of M*A*S*H fame) as Gunderson, pastor of East Cornucopia Lutheran Church (rural Minnesota circa 1964-65). Its sequel, A Second Helping, has been playing to Plymouth Playhouse audiences since March.

The script was written by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke; the songs—including “The Pale Food Polka”—are by Drew Jansen.

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