Two Stevensville women know exactly how much fun laundry can be, particularly when they sing and dance between loads.
Beth Schreiber and Cara Ayres will wrap up a national tour of their first co-written production, "Suds 'n' Suds," when they present the musical comedy at the Stevensville Playhouse June 3-5 and June 10-12 at 8 p.m. They also will offer afternoon performances June 6 and June 13 at 2 p.m.
Schreiber and Ayres will play Sissy and Sadie Suds respectively, two sisters left to run the family's Laundromat-lounge and ranch after their parents' death. The persistent stains of past troubles challenge the singing sisters as they learn to live for the future's possibilities.
"I think Beth and I can promise that (the audience) will feel uplifted when they go," Ayres said.
Not just because of the duo's comical performance, but also because the show - which has also played in Nevada and Oregon - is a benefit event to raise money for Stevensville's "Save Our Swimming Pool" fund.
"Our kids would disown us if we didn't do everything we could to save the pool," Schreiber, a mother of two boys, said. The public outdoor pool was uncertain earlier this year if it could reopen in June because of costly improvements needed to meet updated state pool standards.
The pool, which has opened every summer for over five decades, would be grandfathered out of the most costly changes if it is in compliance this summer, said John Susen, a board member of the Stevensville Community Foundation.
Susen said he's never seen so much community support for a civic project since moving to the area 20 years ago.
"Our original goal was $23,000," Susen said. "Frankly, we are going to beat it."
Though Susen said the official count on fundraising efforts isn't yet completed, he's confident the pool will open by June 9. He said contractor Swank Enterprises provided "tremendous assistance" to ensure the pool would continue to operate.
"They've already helped us clean out the pool," Susen said, adding they will soon assist with caulking, painting and other necessary refinishing work.
But the improvements won't stop with the state's new minimum requirements for pools because of continued efforts by concerned citizens such as Schreiber and Ayres.
Both Schreiber and Susen said the community foundation plans to use extra funds to make long-needed updates in the changing rooms and indoor plumbing.
Schreiber said she and Ayres created their company, Take Two Productions, to help improve communities like their own.
"We were wondering what we would do when our kids were in school," Schreiber said. "How will we make the world a better place?"
Schreiber and Ayres juggled several ideas but ultimately found the right tune when they discussed music and theater.
"I sang through college to make grocery money with a few bands," Ayres said. "But I talked myself out of admitting it was my biggest dream because it just seemed too risky."
Schreiber had studied vocal performance at Drake University in Iowa, taught private lessons and had performed in various musicals over the years.
The two stay-at-home moms founded Take Two Productions with the goal of helping organizations and communities raise money while entertaining and pursuing their shared interests in music and theater.
"We are so giddy every day," Ayres said.
Tickets for the benefit show can be purchased at Valley Drug and Variety in Stevensville or by calling 239-1218.
Jayme Fraser is a junior studying print journalism at the University of Montana who is interning at the Missoulian this summer. She can be reached at 523-5241 or at email@example.com.