“Church Basement” ladies ready to save Christmas in Columbia Historic State Park

Becky Saunders stars in SRT’s “Away In The Basement, A Church Basement Ladies Christmas.”
Becky Saunders stars in SRT’s “Away In The Basement, A Church Basement Ladies Christmas.”

The ladies are back, ready to bring holiday cheer to the Columbia stage.

Sierra Repertory Theatre brings “Away in the Basement, A Church Basement Ladies Christmas” to its Historic Fallon House Theatre in Columbia State Park from Friday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 9.

It marks the third installment in SRT’s popular “Church Basement Ladies” musical comedy saga, this time with an all-new Christmas-spirited theme.

“Away in the Basement” takes audiences back to 1959 and the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. “In the midst of holiday preparations and sprinklings of love in the air, the ladies in their witty, down-to-earth style are creating their own memories from Christmases past and present,” according to a press release from SRT.

“Content to do things the way they have always been done, yet pondering new ideas, the reality of everyday life hits home as they plan the Sunday School Christmas Program.”

As children in the program rehearse in the sanctuary, the ladies of the basement kitchen are finishing up their treat bags while the others put the final touches on nativity pieces.

“As they mend old bathrobe costumes, discuss the politics of who’s going to play the various roles, little do the ladies know what surprises are in store for them,” the release said.

Again, the ladies, with their comedic antics and charm, will be called upon to save the day and make sure the show will go on.

Starring in “Away in the Basement” will be Chris Vettel as Pastor E.L. Gunderson, Karla Franko as Vivian, Becky Saunders as Mavis, Robyne Parrish as Karin and Quinn Farley as Beverly, Karin’s 15-year-old daughter.

“Beverly is ready to shed her role as Mary in the pageant and grow up and move on, while Karin is the quiet hard worker who avoids attention and just wants everyone to be happy,” according to SRT.

The production will be directed by Saunders, who reprises her role as Mavis Gilmerson, the strong-as-nails farm gal with a heart of gold. Also returning is Vettel as the pastor, a shepherd of his flock who are dealing with the changes of the time and of the church.

An opening night reception, included in the price of admission, will be held Friday, Nov. 2, following the performance, with the audience invited to join the actors and SRT staff for a light reception at Christopher’s at The City Hotel and Restaurant.

A post-show talkback will be offered following the Friday, Nov. 23, performance, with members of the cast; free with admission.

“Away in the Basement, A Church Basement Ladies Christmas”

WHEN: 2 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays and Saturdays-Sundays, 7 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, Nov. 2-Dec. 9

WHERE: Fallon House Theatre, 11175 Washington St., Columbia

TICKETS: $32 to $47

ONLINE: www.sierrarep.org

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