I have a confession to make. I have never seen a production of the wildly successful and popular musical NUNSENSE written by Dan Goggin. Until now. And I am happy to report that the 25th anniversary revival at the Cherry Lane Theatre where this most entertaining show about the Little Sisters of Hoboken has taken up residence through July 18th is heaven sent. A cause for celebration.
Five nuns are trying to raise money for the burial of the last four remaining Sisters that are on ice due to a lack of funds ever since Mother Superior, Mary Regina paid for the burial of the other 52 nuns stricken dead by the botched soup recipe of Sister Julia resulting in botulism poisoning and then bought a plasma screen television. The five remaining are remaining as they were playing Bingo elsewhere.
Well you get the idea that this is not your usual logical musical but some wonderfully deranged, inventive, irreverent, risqué, clever, mischievous madcap musical with five of the most lovable, funny, toe tapping and hell raising Sisters ever to grace the stage. They spread the word. And the word is fun.
With clever references to other famous Broadway shows thrown in here and there we get to know each of the Sisters and they each get to shine in numbers specifically created for their characters. And they waste not a minute getting the audience involved. Testing them after a “history” lesson and giving away Saint Christopher medals as prizes for the correct answers.
You don’t have to be Catholic to love NUNSENSE. It’s a hoot from start to finish. With some solemn tongue in cheek nods to purity, chastity and poverty, director Don Groggin takes us on a merry melodic ride with his musical nuns with some spry musical staging and choreography by Teri Gibson.
There is Sister Mary Amnesia who can’t remember who she is or where she came from. A crucifix head injury caused this abnormality. Jeanne M. Tinker is absolutely perfect with her exquisitely timed scatter-braided humor and vocal skills. Is it a sin to have a crush on a nun? I’ve already said five Hail Marys. She is delightful. There is Sister Mary Hubert (Bambi Jones) who gets to raise the rafters with her gospel number. Sister Robert Anne (Maria Montana) reminding us of Anne Bancroft as she throws off her understudy duties to become a star. Sister Mary Leo (Stephanie Wahl) wanting to be a ballerina and Mother Mary Regina (Bonnie Lee) who has an hysterical interlude with a substance called “RUSH”.
It’s no wonder that NUNSENSE ran for over ten years when it first opened Off-Broadway at the same Cherry Lane Theatre in 1985. Dan Goggin had the calling and answered with his this very tuneful and clever show. Blessed be the God that created humor. Amen.