TNT stage ‘Church Basement’

The musical comedy “Church Basement Ladies” opens Friday at Trumbull New Theatre for a three-weekend run.

Written by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke, with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen, the musical takes place in the basement kitchen of a Lutheran church in Minnesota, where the women of the church are responsible for preparing meals for special events.

The musical focuses on four meals — a Christmas dinner, a post-funeral meal, a Hawaiian-themed fundraiser for Easter and a July wedding — that take place in the mid-’60s, a tumultuous time for the church.

From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young bride-to-be learning the proper order of things, the musical provides a look at their lives as they stave off potential disasters, share and debate recipes, instruct the young and keep the pastor on due course while thoroughly enjoying — or at least tolerating — each other’s company. The show has spawned four sequels since its 2008 premiere.

It includes such songs as “The Pale Food Polka,” “Dead Spread” and “Get Down to Business.”

The cast features Brenda Culver, Renee Johntony, Beth Kuligowski and Emily Grace Walters as the title characters and Wayne Morlock as Pastor Gunderson.

It is directed by Teri Gilbert with Jim Penn as assistant director, Alan Purdum as music director and Linda Crank as accompanist. Gilbert also singled out crew members Ed Ranttila, Jill Sakonyi and Peg Parker for creating and managing all of the props needed for the show.

“Church Basement Ladies” will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday through March 24 and 3 p.m. March 25 at Trumbull New Theatre, 5883 Youngstown Warren Road, Niles. Tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for students and can be reserved online at and by calling the TNT box office at 330-652-1103 between 7 and 9 p.m. weekdays.