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Showing posts from July, 2010

Church Basement Ladies

Over the past three years Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre's audiences have enjoyed the antics of the Smoke in the Mountains clan every summer. This year "Church Basement Ladies" fills the big shoes vacated by the Sanders clan. Though the "Smoke" shows are a tough act to follow, the cooking ladies of a Minnesota Lutheran church rise to the challenge.

The show is set in the 1960s in the church basement's kitchen as four women prepare meals for a fundraiser, funeral and a wedding. Dressed in sensible shoes and aprons, the women cook up heaping Norwegian dishes. In one musical number they celebrate the joys of cooking with butter and doing the "Pale Food Polka."

The cast works wonderfully together. The oldest of the group struggles to accept changes in the church, while the youngest tries to square her parent's beliefs with her own. Karen Pappas portrayal of Mavis is especially fun. She brings an impressive energy to her role, which provides …

Reasons To Be Pretty

"Show me a beautiful woman and I'll show you a guy that's tired of F***ing her."

As crude as that line is, it perfectly sums up the character of Kent, who says it during "Reasons to be Pretty," on stage now at the Phoenix Theatre.

The show premiered off-Broadway in 2008 and is the final play in Neil LaBute's trilogy about society's perception of beauty. The Shape of Things, the first play, was turned into a film starring Paul Rudd. The second, Fat Pig, was part of the Phoenix Theatre's 2007 season.

"Reasons to be Pretty" is about a couple, Stephanie and Greg, who fall out after she find out he called her face "regular" compared to a pretty co-worker's face. On the surface it's simple enough, but it delves much deeper into other issues in their relationship and in Greg's relationship with his self-centered friend Kent.

Angela Plank, who also co-starred in Fat Pig, plays Stephanie. She does an excellent job exuding…