CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES Opens 6/18 at Plymouth Playhouse

Curt Wollan and Troupe America Inc., the producer of the national hit musical comedy series The Church Basement Ladies announce the return of the original show in celebration of its 10th Anniversary. Your favorite Church Basement Ladies are back for a 21-week run opening June 18 and continuing through November 15, 2015 at Plymouth Playhouse.

Known over the years for their hilarious antics and down-to-earth humor, audiences from coast-to-coast continued to fall in love with the residents of the church basement kitchen, With each installment, these ladies have managed to serve up rib-tickling changes in the church kitchen, without spilling a drop of their egg coffee!


The returning original cast features Janet Paone in the role of the widow "Mrs. Lars Snustad" (Vivian), the matriarch of the kitchen; Greta Grosch as the able-bodied farm wife and jack-of-all-trades,"Mrs. Gilmer Gilmerson"(Mavis); Dorian Chalmers in the role of "Mrs. Elroy Engelson" (Karin), the best cook in the kitchen and Tara Borman plays Karin?s daughter "Signe Engelson." Ruthie Baker originated the role of Signe. Tim Drake as "Pastor E. L. Gunderson" performs his usual pastoral duties.


Complete with twelve songs, Church Basement Ladies is a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there featuring four distinct characters and their relationships as they organize the food and the problems of a rural Minnesota church. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the book and music give us a touching, funny look at their lives as we see them handle a record breaking Christmas dinner, the funeral of a dear friend, a Hawaiian Easter Fundraiser, and a steaming hot July wedding. They stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the Pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other. Funny and touching, audiences will recognize these ladies as they begin to see the year unfold from below the House of God.

In 2005, Wollan commissioned creative writing team Jim Stowell, one of Minnesota?s favorite storytellers and Jessica Zuehlke, a performance arts educator to develop the book for the first installment. This husband and wife duo collaborated with 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, the music and lyrics for the holiday version Away in the Basement, A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement and The Last (Potluck) Supper. Sketch comedy writer and head writer for the Medora Musical, Greta Grosch, is credited with writing the other four installments including the sequel Church Basement Ladies 2: A Second Helping, the holiday show, Away in the Basement, A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement and The Last (Potluck) Supper. Directed by Wollan, his inspiration for all five shows is found in his mother who was a well-respected church kitchen lady who?s Church named their new stove in her honor. Wendy Short Hays originally choreographed Church Basement Ladies with set design by Jared Grohs, lighting design by Scott Herbst, sound design by Mark Brodin, costume design by Trina Benedict and musical direction by Dennis Curley.


The inspiration for all five installments of the musical comedy series is based on the books of author/humorists Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson including the bestseller Growing Up Lutheran and originated at the Plymouth Playhouse. The phenomenal success story behind Church Basement Ladies began in February 2005 with a series of regional workshops and performances at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, MN, the Historic Fargo Theatre, Fargo, ND, the Belle Meyhus Theatre, Bismarck, ND completing its run at the Paramount Theatre, St. Cloud, MN. According to Wollan, "There was a great response to our "out-of-town tryout." The show returned to the Twin Cities for further grooming and opened at the Plymouth Playhouse September 2005 performing to 250,000 patrons in it?s

two and a half year run. Its sequel, Church Basement Ladies 2: A Second Helping opened March 2008 to equally enthusiastic response. 2009 produced the holiday show, Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas that sold at 103.6 % attracting more than 60,000 audiences members regionally and made a return visit to the Playhouse in 2010. The fourth show, A Might Fortress Is Our Basement, opened August 2012 to capacity houses followed by the show?s final chapter, The Last (Potluck) Supper opening August 2013. No matter the version, no matter your faith, audiences have instantly fallen in love with these "Steel Magnolias" of the church. Currently, this popular homegrown musical has become the most successful show produced both locally and nationally by Troupe America in its twenty-eight year history. All five versions of the show have toured Nationally or been licensed in all contiguous 48 states and Canada with more than three million audience members that have found connections with their favorite characters in their own mothers and grandmothers onstage.

Critics and audiences are singing high praise for these ladies. The Star Tribune says "Wickedly funny... a hotdish musical that is doing casserole business," mytalk107.1 raves "You?ll laugh until your sidedish hurts!", and "...wonderful, wacky performance..." exclaims Metro Lutheran.


All performances of Church Basement Ladies are at the Plymouth Playhouse opening June 18, continuing through November 15, 2015.

Performances dates, time and prices:

Wednesday Thursday Thursday Friday Saturday Saturday Sunday

1 pm $28 1pm $28 7:30 pm $35 7:30 pm $35 3:00 pm $37 7:30 pm $39 2:00 pm $37

Overnight "Stay & Play " packages are available (includes a room for two at the Best Western Hotel and Conference Center, 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. For ticket information call the Plymouth Playhouse Box Office at 763-553-1600 x 1 or visit Tickets are also available online. For groups of 12 plus call 763-383-1073.

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