A celebration of church basement kitchens and the women who work there, Away in the Basement offers a “scrapbook of memories” of what it was like to celebrate Christmas as a Lutheran in the Midwest of 1965. A lively musical comedy that dances merrily between angst over which “blonde teenager” should play the Virgin Mary in the upcoming church pageant and which new “lady” in the parish has captured the eye of the windowed pastor, the focus remains happily on the gossipy ladies as they organize the food and solve the problems of a rural Minnesota church. Together, they stave off potential disasters, debate recipes, instruct the young, and keep the pastor on course while thoroughly enjoying (and tolerating) each other as the true “steel magnolias” of the parish.
Away in the Basement, a Church Basement Ladies Christmas features music and lyrics by Drew Jansen, and book by Greta Grosch. It was originally commissioned and produced by Troupe America, Inc. opening at the Plymouth Playhouse, Minneapolis, Minnesota under the direction of Curt Wollan, November 5th, 2009.