William Christopher to Star in Church Basement Ladies
Set in 1964-65, the show is a funny, heartfelt reflection on the four women who tirelessly prepare the food and solve problems for the congregation at a rural Minnesota church. The "Church Basement Ladies" include the elderly matriarch of the kitchen, a young bride-to-be, a jack-of-all trades farm wife and the best cook in the church. Together, the ladies stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep Pastor E. L. Gunderson (Christopher) on due course as they cope with the changing world. The musical is based on the best-selling book Growing Up Lutheran by humorists Janet Letnes and Suzann Nelson. It features a book by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke, with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen.
The production will also star Margaret Curry as Mrs. Elroy Engelson (Karin), Stella Fasonello as Signe Engelson, Jean Liuzzi as Mrs. Lars Snustad (Vivian), and Karen Pappas as Mrs. Gilmer Gilmerson (Mavis).
The artistic team will include Wendy Short Hays (choreography), Mark Brodin (sound and video design), Drew Jansen (musical direction), Jerod Paul Grohs (original set design), Scott R. Herbst (light and scenic design), and Beth Nistler (costume design).
Evanston native Christopher played "Father Mulcahy" for 11 years on the hit TV series M*A*S*H. Stage credits include The Hostage and The Odd Couple.