The Church Basement Ladies return to the Sierra Repertory’s Fallon House Theatre Oct. 14 through Nov. 27 in A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement. Directed by original Sierra Rep church lady Becky Saunders, the production will feature a brand new cast along with upbeat, fun new songs and story.
The year is 1960, and a reformation is underway. Against the changing tide, the Church Basement Ladies stand strong in their faith and in their friendships. Beverly, the young daughter of Karin, gets her first pair of high heels for confirmation; their very nervous Pastor makes it to the altar on time; Mrs. Snustad and Mrs. Gilmerson plan a food booth at the County Fair to raise money; and Mrs. Engelson embarks on a spontaneous driving lesson.
The Lutheran pastor’s pretty young girlfriend causes some commotion among the faithful and no one is taking it harder than senior stateswoman Vivian, played by SRT newcomer Regina Harbour. Young Beverly, played by Elizabeth McMonagle (The Robber Bridegroom, The Spitfire Grill, Putnam County Spelling Bee), is caught between being a girl and becoming a woman as she awaits her confirmation during a time when women's liberation is just beginning to be a topic of discussion. Her mother, Karin, played by local actress Catherine Gordon (SRT’s Dames At Sea, One Foot On The Floor, Gold Dust), is on an emotional rollercoaster that has her veering between tirades and tears, while Mavis, played by another local actress, Debi Woodall (SRT’s The Sound of Music, Damn Yankees, Big River), is a salt-of-the-earth type who is worried about losing part of her farm to Eisenhower’s new interstate. The pastor, played by Christopher Vettel (Church Basement Ladies, Les Misérables), is quite the nervous groom and delivers a sort of running commentary from the pulpit, not of Bible verses but rather the often-ridiculous church “news” unfolding around him.
Director Becky Sanders played Mavis in the first in the series of The Church Basement Ladies and the sequel, A Second Helping. In addition, she just appeared in The Robber Bridegroom and directed Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and last season’s Always, Patsy Cline. Other performances include Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast and The Honky Tonk Angels.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement opens Friday, Oct. 14 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 27 with performances Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at either 2 or 7 p.m. A special “Talk Back” performance is Thursday, Oct. 27. Tickets are from $32 to $37, with senior, student and child discounts available. The show is rated G. For tickets and information visit www.sierrarep.org or call the Box Office at 209-532-3120.