DeKALB – Fans of the musical comedy series "Church Basement Ladies" will finally get to know more about the men of East Cornucopia Lutheran Church in the new production "Rise Up O Men" to be staged at 2 p.m. April 14 at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb.
This sidesplitting, uplifting peek into the lives of the rural Norwegian Lutherans, who audiences first fell in love with in 2005, is the sixth chapter of the story begun in the original "Church Basement Ladies."
"Rise Up O Men" features familiar faces: Mrs. Mavis Gilmerson, Mrs. Vivian Snustad and Mrs. Karin Engleson who would never leave the basement kitchen unattended, of course (who would make bars for the youth group meeting?). But as they busy themselves with preparations for their church's participation in the town’s 1964 Centennial Celebration, we get to see their coming and goings from the eyes of the menfolk, who have their own problems to solve. Karin’s husband, Elroy, farmer Carl and Great War vet Arlo are joined in brotherhood by series staple Pastor E.L. Gunderson. Their camaraderie unites them as they deal with furnace salesmen, looming retirement, rival Protestant denominations, the pastor’s bad jokes, and Arlene’s even-worse cooking.
The series of "Church Basement Ladies" productions are inspired by the bestselling book "Growing Up Lutheran" by Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson. This latest chapter in the lives of these rural Minnesota Norwegians was developed by Greta Grosch, who wrote the scripts for the second, third, fourth and fifth musicals in the series. Longtime Minneapolis StarTribune theater critic Graydon Royce contributed additional material. Composer and songwriter Dennis Curley wrote the music, with lyrics by Dennis Curley and Greta Grosch.
Produced by Troupe America Inc., the original musical comedy, “The Church Basement Ladies,” opened at the Plymouth Playhouse in Minneapolis in September 2005 to a response so enthusiastic that its initial run lasted two-and-a-half years. Five sequels have expanded the universe of these familiar and beloved “Steel Magnolias of the Prairie,” making The Church Basement Ladies the most successful show in Troupe America’s 30-year history.
Ticket prices start at $25 and senior discounts are available. For tickets and more information, visit www.egyptiantheatre.org or call 815-758-1215.
The Egyptian Theatre, located at 135 N. Second St. in DeKalb, is owned and operated by Preservation of Egyptian Theatre Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.