Holiday basement hilarity
'Church Basement Ladies' make third visit to Clay County
The "Church Basement Ladies" will be making a third trip to the Clay County Regional Events Center for two shows on Saturday, Nov. 24, when they bring "Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas" to the stage.
The cast of five -- primarily the Church Basement Ladies -- are busy preparing for the holidays, planning the Sunday School Christmas program. As the children rehearse upstairs in the sanctuary, the ladies of the kitchen are finishing up the treat bags and putting the final touches on the nativity pieces. Preparing the costumes by sewing up old robes, discussing the politics of the program casting, the ladies have no idea what lies ahead as the events of the day unfold.
Nikki Asvitt, who portrays Mavis in the show, loves the opportunity to tour as a part of the show.
"This is my third tour. I've only toured the Christmas rendition and the third time is a charm," Asvitt said. "It's really fun to see different parts of the world during the holidays."
She stressed that although this is the third play in the series, audiences won't have had to see the other two to follow this show. It stands alone according to Asvitt.
Asvitt and the rest of the traveling troupe, opened on the road in South Carolina and have traveled or will travel to South Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas and other states, even stopping in the setting of the show, Minnesota.
"This is set in a small town, a fictional town, in Minnesota," Asvitt explained.
In addition to Mavis, the cast includes Vivian, the staunch matriarch; Beverly, the daughter of Karin; Karin; and the church's loyal pastor.
"We always refer to him as pastor, we never use his name. I think he used to have a name, but we don't use it anymore," Asvitt said.
She continued, talking about the show, "This is a really nice one at the holidays. You get to see how Church Basement Ladies handle a big Christmas pageant. You'll hear our own Church Basement Ladies brand of humor about the holidays. People are so busy, they can take a break from everything. It's good holiday hijinx and some heartwarming fun. Our audience members have a ball."
Asvitt is a full-time actor, but acknowledged Mavis as her "favorite character to come back to."
"My work has come from Church Basement Ladies franchise over the last five years. I've done a lot of dinner theater, but the Church Basement Ladies kind of exploded about five years ago," she said.
Asvitt continued, "It's easier to do a show once you know what you're doing. It's a simple show, but it's intricate. There prop juggling, singing and dancing."
Not to mention the challenge of the timing involved in live comedy.
* Tickets are $40 and $35 each, depending on seat location. All seats are reserved. Tickets are on sale now. To purchase tickets, customers can visit the Events Center Ticket Office (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), go online at www.ticketmaster.com, charge by phone through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or visit any Ticketmaster outlet.
Group rates are also available. For groups of 15 or more attending the same show, customers will receive a $3 discount per ticket, making them $37 and $32 each.