church basement II

Here I am, four years ago with four talented ladies. This is one of my favorite shows I’ve ever done.

The show was CHURCH BASMENT LADIES; A SECOND HELPING. It is the second in a set of several shows that tells the story about the ladies who run the affairs of the kitchen in the basement of your basic Lutheran church in Minnesota. I played the pastor, who tried to keep these ladies somewhat on task. Let’s start with these four ladies, left to right:

SUE JOHNSON (yes, my wife) played Vivan Snustad, – the head, the leader, the ruler of the kitchen squad. Sue and I have done other shows together, but when we did the first Church Basement Ladies show, we just couldn’t resist when the Pequot Lakes Community Theatre scheduled the second one.

Sue was great! She enjoyed the part, she was funny, she sang up a storm. She brought out all of her tools and gave us one superb church basement lady.

Then there’s DANA GJOVIK RINGLER (she wasn’t RINGLER back then; Happy Wedding, Dana…) who played Beverly. We were stuck early in the casting of the show. We didn’t have someone to play the part of Beverly – and then, Dana was suggested. She was called, she came to a rehearsal, and fit right in – and it was her first community show ever. I sure hope there are more.

Side note: Dana is a former student of mine. One theatrical moment we shared: I directed the one act play for Pillager school one year, and Dana was one of the cast of that show. It was so special to connect again with her heartfelt Beverly, after having directed her in high school.

Like I said, Dana, I sure hope there are more.

Next is KATE DAVIS. She, along with Sue and me, was one of the cast in the first CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES for Pequot Lakes. She again took up the part of Karin, a young lady who is so very dedicated to working in the kitchen, and wants eventually to rise to the station now occupied by Vivian. Kate’s gentle humor and good singing gave a tender touch to the cast.

Kate has become one of the real leaders of the Pequot Lakes group – having been on stage for other shows, and even took on a directing chore, as well as some choreography – Kate, the multi-talented.

And then, there with her Jazz Hands out, is JANIS BEAR. She gave us the character of MAVIS, a lady prone to blurting out comical comments. Janis brings years of experience to the stage, having performed several times in the Brainerd Lakes area and down in Oklahoma, where she’s an English teacher and theater person who also had a good many directing credits to her name.

Janis (and her husband Dave) have been friends of ours for a long time – We go back to the 1980s, for heaven’s sake. Here’s to a friendship and theatrical experiences with the Bears – long may they continue.

I can’t close without mentioning the director of the show – AMY BORASH. Also a vet of stage acting, and of choreography and directing several shows. She led us into the script, taught us the dance steps, all with enthusiasm and positive words of encouragement. Not only that, she brought her girls to be backstage help – so thanks to Sylvia and Libby for all that. Amy also had a hip replaced during the rehearsal of the show, and didn’t miss a single session. Think about that for awhile.

So many others involved in putting on a show … Beth as our stage manager, the cooperation of the Pequot Lakes Community theatre and the Central Lakes College for having to stage the show in Brainerd –

Let me say that this kind of experience is why I’ve done community theatre, and will continue to do so.

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