by Beki Pineda

AWAY IN THE BASEMENT – A CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES CHRISTMAS – Written by Greta Grosch; Music and Lyrics by Drew Jansen; Directed by Tracy Warren. Produced by BDT Stage (5501 Arapahoe, Boulder) through December 28 (check the calendar for dates). Tickets available at 303-449-6000 or BDTStage.com.

One last chance to visit with the Church Basement Ladies, a category of service with which I am very familiar having grown up in a small corn town in the middle of Illinois. The churches actually outnumbered the bars. Interdenominational dating was begrudgingly permitted. I was informed when I went home to care for my elderly parents that my mother was the “noodle lady” known far and wide for her home-made noodles. I informed back that i was more than happy to help but had no expertise in making noodles.

These particular church ladies can not only cook, they can sing and dance and solve the problems of the world with grace and style. Barb Reeves, Ali Myers and Bren Burron have been church ladies together before and fit together like gloves on hands. It’s evident that the fondness shown on stage is a reflection of friendship and respect from off-stage relationships. You add the bottomless pit of talent that is Wayne Kennedy as Pastor Gunderson of the local Lutheran Church and you’ve got the whipped cream on this particular Sunday. The cherry on the top is Prugh Dunfee – yes, Ally’s 14-year-old daughter is playing Ally’s 14-year-old daughter in the show- a particular piece of type-casting that really works. The evening is complete.

Gossip abounds, church politics are discussed, soup gets made, cookies are bagged and a new woman is vetted for the widowed minister. Most of them think she “might” do for him, but that doesn’t mean they are above playing pranks on her. A heart-warming gentle musical featuring light-hearted songs such as “Everybody is a Kid Again at Christmastime,”  She’s “Just Not Mary Material,” and “Reindeer Rendezvous.” Wayne breaks your heart singing to his deceased wife about the possibility of a new relationship with “I Think You’d Like Her.” But they finish with a rousing Scandinavian Christmas song “Jeg Er Sd Glad,” wishing all a Merry Christmas.

A full-blown kitchen adorns the set and the costumes are “house” dresses covered by holiday aprons. Thank goodness Costumer Linda Morken found a vintage pair of petti-pants (remember those?) for Bren who turns bottoms up with regularity. This show is being performed on alternate nights with BUDDY HOLLY so check the calendar for play dates.

A WOW factor of 8!!

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