‘Church Basement Ladies’ dinner theatre at New Era Lutheran

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Muscatine Living

“Church Basement Ladies” will be the 27th production of the New Era Dinner Theatre.  The show will be presented on Friday, Oct. 7; Saturday, Oct. 8; and Sunday, Oct. 9 in the New Era Community Building at 3455 New Era Road in rural Muscatine, next to Wild Cat Den State Park. Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Reservations are required for all performances.

This charming and witty musical is a celebration of the church basement kitchen and the women who work there. The Ladies organize the food and solve the problems of a rural Minnesota church in the mid-1960’s. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be, 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 course while thoroughly enjoying, (and tolerating) each other.

“Church Basement Ladies” is inspired by the books of Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, including their best seller, “Growing Up Lutheran,”  was originally commissioned and produced by Troupe America, Inc. at the Plymouth Playhouse, Minneapolis, Minnesota under the direction of Curt Wollan and opened on Sept. 8, 2005.

The New Era production is directed by Bill Turner.  Musical direction is provided by Bob Danner.  The cast features Delene McConnaha as Vivian, Teri Walsh as Mavis, Cali Van Zandt as Karin, Bridgette Bissell as Signe, and Adam Turner as Pastor Gundersen.

This year’s dinner will consist of Jell-O salad, hamburger hot dish, New Era green beans, dinner rolls, desserts, and beverages. The dining room, theatre, and restrooms at New Era are handicap accessible.

Proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders, Muscatine Center for Social Action, and New Era Lutheran Church.

Tickets for the dinner and show are $30 for adults and $20 for children through age 12. They can be ordered by calling Joan Dietrich, 563-299-4710 or Nancy Henke, 563-263-0881.  Tickets may also be ordered by mail at Church Basement Ladies c/o New Era Lutheran Church, 3455 New Era Road, Muscatine, IA 52761.

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