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Photo shoot for Broadway Rose show takes place in local church basement

CRAIG MITCHELLDYER/BROADWAY ROSE THEATRE COMPANY - In the basement of the Tigard United Methodist Church, Broadway Rose 'church ladies' (from left) Zoe Randol as Signe, Debbie Hunter as Karin, Kymberli Colbourne as Mavis and Lori Paschall as Vivian ham it up with food prepared by Broadway Rose Guild members.
When Broadway Rose Theatre Company Marketing Director Alan Anderson was scouting locations for the photo shoot for the 1960s-based “Church Basement Ladies,” which opens April 15, he focused on finding — what else? — an appropriate church basement.

The problem was that most Tigard-area churches have updated their kitchens since the ’60s and weren’t suitable.

“I called churches up and down 99W,” said Anderson, but he persevered and found Tigard United Methodist Church, which not only had a kitchen that looked like it was from the right era (except for the microwave) but also church leaders who were willing to allow the photo shoot.

Even better, three Broadway Rose Guild members were prevailed upon to cook up some dishes like ones that might have been made for a 1960s church potluck.

Kymberli Colbourne (who plays Mavis), Debbie Hunter (who plays Karin), Lori Paschall (who plays Vivian) and Zoe Randol (who plays Signe) had fun being transformed — with help from costumer Grace O’Malley and wig designers Molly Murphy and Jane Holmes — into church ladies from the ‘60s. Broadway Rose Producing Artistic Director Sharon Maroney was also there, providing input and suggesting jewelry pieces and other accessories from a table full of necklaces, earrings, eyeglasses, some dainty hats and a few furs.

Kymberli ColbourneDebbie Hunter

As Holmes sprayed hairspray on the wig Paschall was wearing, she said, “It should be Aqua Net,” which started everyone reminiscing about Helene Curtis hairspray and Dippity Do, which were about the only hair products available in the ‘60s. “You look like a Stepford wife,” Maroney said to Randol, referring to the movie featuring perfect robot wives.

Anderson popped in to see how everything was coming along during a discussion of shoes, and Randol took a selfie of the 1960s version of herself, something that was decidedly not an option in that long-ago decade.Zoe RandolLori Paschall

Finally, everyone was ready and stepped out into a large reception hall that been transformed into a temporary photography studio with multiple lights and a white backdrop.

“Ladies, we will do individual shots first, with and without food,” Anderson said. “Then we’ll do kitchen shots.”

On the kitchen counter were the various colorful dishes the guild ladies had made for the photo shoot that included pineapple upside-down cake, banana cream pie, red Jell-O with cream cheese, brownies, a green gelatin concoction with carrots around the edges, another gelatin salad with maraschino cherries and Mandarin oranges on top, a veggie dish and lasagna.

Hunter went first, posing with the red Jell-O dish and mugging for the camera, while Anderson and Broadway Rose Communications Manager Emily Dew checked out the results on a monitor.

Randol posed next with the plateful of brownies on a teal Fiesta plate. “Pick one up and pretend to eat it,” photographer Craig Mitchelldyer said. “Look mischievous. Hold the brownies closer to your mouth.”

Anderson had thought of everything, including coming up with a fake cookbook that might have been popular in that innocent time when no one knew fat and cholesterol were bad for you. For her photo shoot, Randol held up a cover of “The Joy of Butter,” which disguised the real book, “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

Next, Paschall posed with a coffee pot and mug, with Mitchelldyer giving her directions.

“Nothing’s coming out,” she joked. “It’s dry coffee.”

Finally, it was time for Colbourne’s photo shoot, and Anderson came out of the kitchen with oven mitts while Dew carried a casserole.

“Ham it up with the mitts,” Anderson said, and Mitchelldyer added, “You’re pretty good at this. You make my job easy.”

Finally, Anderson said, “I think we’re done here. Let’s go into the kitchen ... where the magic happens,” Colbourne added.

While Mitchelldyer set up his equipment in the kitchen, Anderson arranged the food on the counter and called the actresses to join him.

“Oh, my god, this looks so delicious,” Randol said.

As they posed holding dishes, Anderson asked Randol, who was holding a big bowl, “Is that too heavy?” and she replied, “I’ll tough it out.”

The final shoot took place with the ladies in the kitchen passing food through a sliding window to an eating area, where Mitchelldyer set up his equipment one last time. As the shoot finished up, Anderson invited everyone to stay and enjoy the food. Unfortunately, with two microwaves in use to reheat some of the dishes, they blew a circuit.

As the actresses munched away, Colbourne said, “This is research — and character development.”

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