Monday, July 18

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: Church Basement Ladies 2

Quite often the first offering in a series of books, films or plays is the best installment as if all the good stuff was poured from the creator's soul leaving nothing back.

It takes years to create. It becomes a hit (if they are fortunate) and the expectations are to produce, in a much shorter time-frame, the same quality for the obligatory second and third segments. When the second installment is as good as the first, perhaps even arguably better, it stands out. (Godfather/Godfather 2)

Beef and Boards, Indianapolis, has such a situation currently on its stage. Church Basement Ladies 2, A Second Helping, is based on the books of Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, the creators of the best-selling book Growing Up Lutheran.
Written by Greta Grosch; directed by Curt Wollan, with music and lyrics by Dennis Curley and Drew Jansen, the show continues on stage through Aug. 28.

The script is stronger this go-round, containing more deeply layered characters with full stories rather than the initial stereotypes.
Emulating Forrest Gump, the characters help each other through historical milestones, including the Kansas City Chiefs vs Minnesota Vikings 1970 Superbowl game, women's rights and the progressive Ecumenical Church. Death, birth and love are quilted into the fabric of the ladies' lives bringing the common bonds of all people to the front pew.

Portrayed by last year's cast, in its entirety, each actor seems to have a deeper relationship with their respective roles: Karen Pappas (Mavis); Katherine Proctor (Karin); Licia Watson (Vivian); Liza Bark (Beverly) and Eddie Curry (Reverend Gunderson).
Whereas last year's offering was supported mainly by Curry and Pappas, this season's CBL2 finds a cast of more solid abilities who have definitely found their stride.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Church Basement Ladies 2 catapults over the original in script, talent and musical offerings.


For tickets, schedule and information: BeefandBoards.com
Photos: JulieCurryPhotography.com
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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