To heck in a hotdish: Church Basement Ladies will turn up the heat

Vivian Snustad (Crystal Gordon), Karen Engleson (Sunshine Duffy), and Mavis Gilmerson (Melissa Hindt) — the Church Basement Ladies — welcome Karin’s daughter, Beverly (Greta Nelson), back home for a visit. Beverly has big news: she and husband Harry are moving back to the farm, and they’re going to have a baby. “Church Basement Ladies: A Second Helping” — or CBL2 — will lay out a smorgasbord of comedy at Webster City Community Theatre beginning Friday, July 8, at 7 p.m.

Everything’s going to heck in a hotdish in the basement.

“Church Basement Ladies: A Second Helping” — or CBL2 — will lay out a smorgasbord of comedy at Webster City Community Theatre beginning Friday, July 8, at 7 p.m. The cooks — well, the cast and crew — have been busy whipping up an extra helping of the stuff that makes live theater fun: humor.

CBL2 continues the story of a rural Minnesota Lutheran church and the indomitable ladies who inhabit its basement kitchen, according to Wil Groves, director.

The year is 1969. The world is changing and the characters are changing with the times — at least some of them. One may have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 1970s.

The five-member cast is a mix of WCCT veterans and newcomers.

Crystal Gordon reprises her 2017 role as Mrs. Vivian Snustad, a crusty kitchen matriarch who has ceded her domain to the younger Karin Engleson, but clings to her superiority like a slice of lefse, all while marinating in her intense disdain for all things “city.”

Sunshine Duffy reprises her role as Karin Engleson, the long-suffering heir apparent to Snustad’s lutefisk-littered throne. It may take more than Karin’s gentle prodding to push Vivian Snustad into the 1970s, and more than a Swiffer to clean that throne.

Melissa Hindt, who has multiple WCCT roles to her credit, portrays Mavis Gilmerson, the third member of the basement ladies triumvirate. Gilmerson possesses a willing and able farm wife’s ability to bring a sense of well-being to the kitchen by diffusing difficult situations with wit and warmth. And maybe a little kringla.

Greta Nelson is a WCCT newcomer and actual Minnesotan. She plays Beverly Signe Engleson Hauge, Karin Engleson’s daughter. Beverly grew up in the church, got her college degree in the cities, married her high school sweetheart, and is back for a visit.

Or does the couple plan to stay?

How will Karin take the news?

How will Mrs. Snustad react to those “newfangled ideas” Beverly brings back from “the cities?” Oh, and the BIG news: they’re going to have a baby.

Pass the Jello!

Dane Barner, portraying Pastor E.L. Gunderson, tries to maintain his pastoral demeanor, all the while realizing he is just a minor player in the estrogen-driven kitchen basement hierarchy. “Pastor’s not a man; he doesn’t even own a pickup,” comments Mrs. Snustad.


“Church Basement Ladies: A Second Helping” opens its eight-show run Friday, July 8, at 7 p.m. Shows are July 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16 at 7 p.m.; July 10 and 17 at 2 p.m.

All tickets are $15 and go on sale Saturday, July 2, at the Webster City Community Theatre box office, 1001 Willson Ave., Webster City, at 10 a.m. Tickets can also be ordered by calling the box office 515-832-4456, or online at wcctboxoffice@gmail.com.


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