Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas opens in MN

Left/right: Tara Borman (Beverly Signe Engelson), Janet Paone (Mrs. Lars Snustad-Vivian), Tim Drake (Pastor), Dorian Chalmers (Mrs. Elroy Engelson-Karin), Greta Grosch (Mrs. Gilmer Gilmerson-Mavis).

Basement program of good tidings, great humor and joy!

The ladies are serving it up again, This time around itʼs an all-new holiday show.  Troupe America, Inc., the Producer of  the nationally acclaimed  musical comedy Church Basement Ladies opens the holiday  season with a new musical comedy Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas previewing November 5,6,7,8, 10 & 11, opening Thursday, November 12, 2009 and continuing through January 24, 2010.

Away in the Basement takes us back to 1959 and the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. In the midst of holiday preparations and sprinklings of love in the air,  the ladies in their witty, down-to-earth style are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present. Content to do things the way they have always been done  yet pondering new ideas, the reality of everyday life hits home as they plan the Sunday School Christmas Program.

As the children rehearse up in the sanctuary, several of the  ladies of the kitchen are finishing up the treat bags filled with apples, peanuts and ribbon  candy while the others put the final touches on the nativity pieces.  As they mend old bathrobe costumes, discuss the politics of whoʻs going to play the various roles, little do the ladies know what surprises are in store for them.  Known for their hilarious antics and subtle charm, they are once again called upon to step in and save the day!

In developing an all-new holiday show, Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas is the third installment in the highly successful production of the musical comedy Church Basement Ladies.  Executive Producer Curt Wollanʼs creative team includes the talents of composer/songwriter Drew Jansen, who wrote the original score and lyrics for Church Basement Ladies and co-wrote the music and lyrics for the sequel Church Basement Ladies 2: A Second Helping.  Sketch comedy writer and head writer for the Medora Musical, Greta Grosch, who wrote the sequel Church Basement Ladies 2: A Second Helping developed the holiday script. Away in the Basement is directed by Curt Wollan, choreographed by Wendy Short Hays with set design by Jared Grohs, lighting design by Scott Herbst, sound design by Mark Brodin, costume design by Katrina Benedict and musical direction by Drew Jansen.

About the cast

The performerʼs roles in Away in the Basement have been double cast due to the large volume of performances per week. Original cast member, Greta Grosch is joined by Shannon Herman as the  able-bodied farm wife and jack-of-all-trades “Mrs. Gilmer Gilmerson”(Mavis), original cast member Dorian Chalmers shares with Roxanne Britz the  role of “Mrs. Elroy Engelson” (Karin)- the best cook in the kitchen, Tara Borman and Andrea  Alioto play Karinʼs teenage daughter  “Beverly Signe Engelson,”  and Robbie Mancina and  Judi Gronseth give equal time to the “Widow Snustad” (Vivian), the matriarch of the kitchen. Original cast member Tim Drake shares the pastoral duties with Greg Eiden.

All three installments of the musical comedy Church Basement Ladies are Inspired by the books of author/humorists Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson including the bestseller Growing Up Lutheran. The original production opened at the Plymouth  Playhouse in  September 2005 and performed to 250,000 patrons in itʼs two and a half year run.

For ticket information call the Plymouth Playhouse Box Office at 763-553-1600 x 1 or visit Plymouthplayhouse.com. Gift certificates are also available. For group information call 763-383-1073.

Overnight “Stay & Play“ packages are available (includes a room for two at the Best Western Kelly Inn, a dinner voucher at the Green Mill Restaurant and two theater tickets to the current show, all under one roof). The Plymouth Playhouse is located at I-494 and Hwy. 55, twenty minutes West from downtown Minneapolis, in suburban Plymouth, Minnesota.

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