Mavis Applebee and Myrtle McGillicurdle are coming to town and are most eager to tell you how to live your life.

And if laughter is important to you, you’ll want to listen.

The two are the brainchildren of Patti Rabaza and Julia Laskowski, Houston-based actresses with sterling credentials in opera and theater. And they are bringing their comedy with music, “Country Gravy and Other Obsessions,” to Tucson tonight through Sunday.

About five years ago, the two wrote a musical with the character Myrtle, a 1950s housewife with some solid advice for anyone who asked, and even for those who didn’t. About the same time, Laskowski wrote a song called “French Fry on the Floorboard!”

They had a eureka moment, gave Myrtle a pal named Mavis, and penned a play that’s part musical and all comedy. Since then, they’ve been travelling around presenting what they call their “relationship seminar,” packed with mostly original music that ranges from opera to country, and all the advice you’ll ever need.

We asked Rabaza to put on her Myrtle hat and give us the best counseling she has on a few topics. We suspect there will more of the same when they set up camp at Zuzi Theatre.On housecleaning: “I do a lot of Jell-O shots and I tend to not see the mess.”

  • On dieting: “We have a song in the seminar called ‘Spanx.’ If you wear it, you can eat whatever you want and it lifts you right up.” (See a music video of the two singing the song at
  • On hats:
  • “You’ve got to wear hats, unless you have big hair. Mavis wears hats except when she’s canoodling with her husband. Then she wears a big plastic thing around her head so she doesn’t mess her do.”
  • On marriage: “Learn how to control your husband. Mavis has this wonderful idea. She says ‘I make these special cookies for my husband called Sleepy Time cookies. Whenever he’s bugging me, I give him those Sleepy Time cookies and he doesn’t bother me anymore.”
  • On winning an argument: “Go get one of those long lighters you use for the fireplace, and if you don’t use hairspray, buy some, and say, ‘Do what I tell you or I’m going to burn your hair right off.’”
  • On being thrifty: “Oh, for gosh sakes, that’s what credit cards are for. If it’s good enough for the government, it’s good enough for us.”
  • On what’s in a well-stocked fridge: “Twinkies and vodka.”
  • On why we should see “Country Gravy … :” “We are going to fix absolutely every relationship you’ve ever had.”

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at or 573-4128.