"Nunsense" to be presented next weekend
A musical comedy that started as a greeting card phenomenon and grew into the second-longest-running Off-Broadway show in history is coming to Holton as part of the upcoming Second Saturday Fall Fest.
“Nunsense,” the 1985 musical comedy that spawned a number of sequels and spin-offs, will be presented Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11, by the Holton Community Theatre group at Penny’s on the west side of Holton’s Town Square. The Saturday, Oct. 10 performance includes a dinner theater, along with other activities to benefit Holton Community Theater.
Director Shannon Wittmer said “Nunsense,” with a book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggin, was chosen for the Fall Fest performance for its music, its comedy and its all-female cast. Rehearsals for the musical comedy are going well, Wittmer said.
“Last Thursday, we had our first practice where we got through everything, start to finish, with the music and the script involved,” Wittmer said. “We kind of split it up. We rehearsed the lines on certain days and concentrated on the music on certain days, because we had a lot to work with.”
The musical comedy centers on five of the 19 surviving “Little Sisters of Hoboken” after discovering that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the other 52 residents of the convent via food poisoning. Upon discovering the disaster, the convent’s Reverend Mother starts a greeting card company to raise funds for the burials.
The cards are a success, but the Reverend Mother misappropriates the money before all the burials were completed, and so a variety show in Mount Saint Helen’s School auditorium is planned to raise the amount needed to complete the burials. However, the nuns have to act fast, because the last four bodies that need to be buried are temporarily on ice in the school’s freezer — and the local Board of Health is getting suspicious.
The five-woman cast is led by Carol Totten as the Reverend Mother, a former circus performer who cannot resist the spotlight. Wittmer said Totten was the perfect choice to play the Reverend Mother, since Totten has “lived an eclectic life and has been through a lot, so she’s definitely kind of a mother figure to us.”
The nuns’ “second-in-command” is Sister Mary Hubert, the Reverend Mother’s competitive but dignified rival whom Wittmer describes as “the loud and boisterous one.” Mallory Jacobs plays the role, which Wittmer says fits Jacobs’ personality perfectly.
There’s also Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is determined to be “the world’s first ballerina nun.” That role is covered by Erin Fox, whom Wittmer said handles her own choreography, and “while she may not be a trained ballerina, she’s doing wonderfully with her footwork.”
The fourth nun is Sister Robert Anne, a streetwise nun from Brooklyn played by Carrie Holliday. Rounding out the cast is Wittmer, playing the role of Sister Mary Amnesia — a childlike nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head — in addition to directing the show.
Keeping in the tradition of the show, Totten — whose husband, Rhett, is working with Nancy Sipes to provide the show’s musical accompaniment — has designed some greeting cards that will be sold during the Oct. 10 performances. Cards will be sold in sets of six for $10, and proceeds will benefit Holton Community Theatre.
Also as part of the Saturday, Oct. 10 show, which begins at 6:30 p.m. with dinner, the group will auction off a number of gift sets and baskets donated by local businesses to raise money for the group after the show’s conclusion. Wittmer also noted that Annie Brock and Inga Nordstrom-Kelly will entertain at intermission that evening with a “nun comedy” routine.
The Sunday, Oct. 11 matinee begins at 2 p.m. and will feature dessert and coffee service, Wittmer said.
Tickets for the Saturday, Oct. 10 show are $35 each, and tickets for the Sunday, Oct. 11 matinee are $15 each. Tickets may be purchased at Holton’s three banks, it was reported.