October 19, 2017
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‘Little Sisters’ delight crowd at Spreckels-1992

By: Irene Hilsendager
October 6, 2017

About 200 people turned out for the opening performance of “Nunsense.” Last Thursday at the Dorothy Rohnert Spreckels Performing Art Center

At the opening performance, center director Michael Grice said the weekend shows were nearly sold out and he expected word of mouth to spread the news about the irreverent comedy, which will be playing for the next two weekends.

The story takes place in the auditorium of Mt. Saint Helen’s School in Hoboken, as five “Little Sisters of Hoboken” stage a fund-raising musical.

As the story goes, mother superior and four of the sisters were off playing bingo when the rest of their convent died from botulism after eating soup prepared by convent chef, Julia, “Child of God.” But before all of the deceased sisters could be buried, the nuns ran out of money as mother superior spend some of the convent funds on a Betamax, leaving them with four nuns in the freezer and an impatient health inspector.

As a musical comedy, “Nunsense” is a light-hearted comedy that pokes fun at the image of the prim and proper nun one may have encountered in parochial school. Though some of the irreverent jokes may cause some Christians to cringe, “Nunsense:” us a good-natured comedy. The crowd at opening night thourghly enjoyed the show and gave it a standing ovation.

One of the groups that laughed the most happened to be a group of women who had attended parochial school, though they admitted they did not particularly enjoy their school, nor did they remember their teacher with fondness.

But the one constant throughout the show that keeps everybody giggling is the nuns doing the song and dance routines as well as interacting with the audience, rulers in hand to rap the knuckles of those who misbehave.

Taking center stage for most of the show is Sister Mary Regina (Judy Sotak). As the mother superior, she doesn’t let the sisters forget who is boss. But she sheds her inhibitions more than a few times, such as when she takes up pompoms and belts out the worse of “Turn Up the Spotlight.”

The other sisters each get a chance to take center stage. Sister Mary amnesia, (Julie Padilla M.), could very well have stolen the show as the confused, absent-minded teacher. She showcases her excellent voice in “so You Want to be a Nun,” where she is accompanied by her ventriloquist nun-dummy and “ I Could Have Gone to Nashville.”

Sister Mary Leo (Annie Travis), dreams of being a ballet dancer in “Soup’s On” (The Dying Nun Ballet) and also harmonizes quite well with her sisters. Sister Robert Anne (Sheila Halloran) finally get to show her talents in the second act, sharing her dreams in “I Just Want to be a Star.” 

sister Mary Hubert (Shirly Nilsen Hall) is the big sister of the group and leads the others in “Tackle 

That Temptation With a Time Step,” a good example not only of the tap dancing talents of the performers but to the choreography as well.

The show’s concluding number shows once again that the sisters do indeed have rhythm. To the tune of “When the Saints Come Marching In,” Sister Mary Regina leads her sisters play their tambourines in a routine that is amusing, impressive and a lot of fun.

“Nunsense” will continue for the next two weekends, Thursday through Sunday. For ticket information call 584-1700 between noon and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.