WINTER PARK — You’d be amazed at how enjoyable a good variety show fundraiser can be, and you’d be doubly surprised at how charming the show is when its staged by local nuns.
That’s the premise of Nunsense A-Men, the musical comedy that follows the survivors at the Little Sisters of Hoboken Convent. They’re in desperate need of cash — for funeral expenses, as it turns out. Seems their cook, Sister Julia, made a soup that was partial to botulism, accidentally poisoning 52 of the sisters. Our five surviving sisters, who had the good fortune to be playing a rigged game of Bingo during the Last Supper (sorry, my bad pun), decide to perform a variety show to raise funds to bury the dearly departed
The play has a lot of fun directions to go from there, and yes indeed, this production is truly a blessing.
What is the musical Nunsense A-Men?
The new production of Nunsense A-Men drew so much hearty laughter during its opening weekend at The Winter Park Playhouse that the walls seemed to slightly tremble. This is a good thing.
I should also note that the Playhouse production is irresistibly fun courtesy of the outstanding talents of the five men — yes, men — playing the Sisters. It made me think that some of our state’s political leaders should see this show to recognize how charming, hilarious and sweet a good Drag Show can be.
Nunsense A-Men is a delightfully engaging vaudeville show, featuring a run of skits as the nuns do their darnedest to find ways to entertain the audience. Dan Goggin’s clever play works in no small measure because the author gives each nun a distinctive personality. It certainly helps that the Playhouse cast fully understands how to maximize the comedic potential of each zany character.
There’s the Mother Superior (David Michael Green), who is stern, tough minded, and tries to maintain order on the unruly bunch; ballet-loving Sister Leo (Alexander LaPlante), street-wise Sister Robert Anne (Dustin Cunningham), the wacky, memory-shaken Sister Mary Amnesia (Ryan J. Lynch) , and the mistress of the novices Sister Mary Hubert (Bert Rodriguez). The fact that our Mother Superior got her start in life as a circus performer pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this show.
Before you can say “Pass the Holy Water,” this epic-ally fun show has you roaring in your seat.
How is the Winter Park Playhouse’s Production?
In terms of the timing, choreography, and polish of each actor’s performance, the production has the distinctive mark of the show’s director, Roy Alan, who clearly wanted it done on high energy and pulls it off with ease. Cunningham, Green and Rodriguez are veteran Playhouse performers who eagerly milk the comedic potential of their characters, and their soaring harmonies don’t hurt one bit. LaPlante, our wannabe ballet dancer, and Lynch as the amnesia-wracked Sister Mary, make their Playhouse debut and wow, what a stellar intro for both of them. They perfectly capture the zany tone of both characters.
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor,” Charles Dickens once wrote. And just think – he never got to see Nunsense A-Men!
But you should.
And it sure is a phenomenal example of how enjoyable a — yes, I’ll say it — Drag Show can be.
Where Can I See Nunsense A-Men?
Nunsense-A-Men is being performed at The Winter Park Playhouse at 711 Orange Ave. in Winter Park. The show will be performed now through Feb. 18.
Ticket prices are $46 for evening shows, $43 for seniors at evening shows, $39 for matinees, $22 for the preview performances, and $20 for students and theatrical industry professionals. Student rush “$10@10” offers $10 tickets (for students ages 15 to 25 years) 10 minutes prior to a performance when seats will be
To purchase tickets for Nunsense A-Men! call the box office at 407-645-0145 or visit online at www.winterparkplayhouse.org
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.