Church Basement Ladies

a play about a small-town Minnesota church, “you betcha”

Abi Zimmer |

With hotdish potlucks to make and relationships to meddle in, Church Basement Ladies, a new musical comedy performed by Troupe America, Inc., is a celebration of those women who organize food and solve the problems of small town churches everywhere. Based on the bestseller Growing Up Lutheran, by Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, the musical is adapted by Jessica Zuehlke and Jim Stowell, with lyrics written by Drew Jansen, who also wrote music for How to Talk Minnesotan:The Musical. “It should play really well,” says Ben Richgruber, executive director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center. “It’s a classic show that would appeal to this area.” The play focuses on four women in a 1964 rural Minnesotan church that is about to face some changes. Sharing Scandinavian know-how and humor are Mrs. Snustad who tromps through the snow in Wonder Bread wrappings, the knife-wielding Mavis, Karin, a would be rebel, and her daughter Signe, who attends university, commonly referred to as “Satan’s playground.” Between pulling off Christmas dinner, a funeral, a Hawaiian Easter Fund Raiser, and a summer wedding, the women bond and tolerate each other through shared recipes and church gossip, keeping the pastor in check, and running the church smoothly. “We all know these women,” says Richgruber. “We’ve grown up with them. Some of us are them. Some of us will be them.”

    Church Basement Ladies • Nov. 7 and 8 • State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire • 7:30pm both nights, with a 1:30pm show on Nov. 8 • $34 box, $24 adults, $18 youth/students • 832-ARTS •