MRS. SNUSTAD (VIVIAN) is 60-70 years old and a widow. She is the most conservative of the ladies and is the matriarch of the kitchen. She is the one who makes sure the food tastes good before leaving the kitchen and she is the one who washes the dishes. Her duties are well defined (by her). She sits at the center work table on a stool almost as a throne where she commands the work of the day. Her word is not to be tested and her decisions are final. She is a mix of Shirley McClain as Weeser, Bea Arthur as Maude, Doris in Everybody Loves Raymond, and the mom in Golden Girls. Vocally hers is the highest voice.
Low – A flat below middle C, no lower than a B flat below middle C. High – E, a major 10th above middle
C. MRS ELROY ENGELSON (KARIN) is 40-45 and is second in line to take over the kitchen. Her cooking is fabulous. She is neat and tidy in appearance and quite pretty in a conservative way, almost looking like Jackie Kennedy with everything perfectly in its place. She senses the world is about to change because she listens to her daughter, Signe. Without Signe’s influence, Karin might be as rigid as Mrs Snustad. The middle voice.
Low – A flat below middle C, and High – D, a major 9th above middle C. Should have a comfortable belt.
MRS GILMER GILMERSON (MAVIS) is in her late 50’s and is a farmer’s wife and a grandmother. She is not afraid of work and can fix anything mechanical as well as do the books. She is the most physical comedienne of the three ladies because of her “jump in and work” attitude. She appears rather disheveled even when dressed up for a wedding. Everyone loves her. The lowest of the voices.
Low – A flat below middle C. High – D, a major 9th above middle
C. SIGNE (Beverly) ENGELSON is Karin’s daughter and has just started college at the University of Minnesota. She comes home to visit often and loves working with her mother in the kitchen. She is 18 or 19 years old and ready to make her mark in the world. She represents change – not only the change the church was going through in 1965, but the change the country was beginning to go through at that time. She would never really become a hippie, but she will like the styles once they are introduced at Sears in Minneapolis. She is pretty like her mother and very sweet, but not afraid to challenge Mrs. Snustad and speak her mind in a respectful way.
Low – A below middle C. High – G flat above middle
C. PASTOR E. L. GUNDERSON is the same age as Karin, but he has just married a young wife. The ladies all seem to have crushes on him in a respectful, “pastorly” way. He is goaded by the fact that he comes from a family of pastors, and his brother, not he, inherited his father’s church down the road. He is a bit competitive and finds that he can truly relax when in the kitchen. He has a friendly and intimate relationship with God, almost like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and he knows that the church runs best when the kitchen is happy.
Low – B flat, a major 9th below middle C. High – G flat above middle C