The Nuns are Back in the Habit at St. Croix Off Broadway
by Milt Helmer, independent freelance
writer for Helmer Publications
Those zany off beat sisters of Mount St. Helen's Convent in Hoboken, New Jersey are up to their antics again in St. Croix Off Broadway’s production of Nunsensations! The Nunsense Vegas Revue. I must admit to not having seen previous Nunsense adventures, but this production proved an inspiration to want to see more of this popular series.
The evening at the Hudson House Inn-based theatre started out with the cast of Angel Brelie (Sr. Hubert), Stephanie Briggs (Sr. Robert Anne), Augusta Lane (Sr. Mary Paul aka Sr. Amnesia), and Abbi Bennett (Sr. Mary Leo) visiting with the audience before curtain and blessing everything from dinner rolls to table cloths.
The play is set in the mythical Pump Room on the third floor of an out of the way Vegas motor lodge. It seems the nuns have been invited to entertain in Las Vegas, setting the stage for a production that was packed with music, dance, standup comedy, and even some vaudeville schtick.
With some fanfare Rev. Mother Judi Gronseth (Sr. Mary Regina) was introduced by the cast. Being the leader of this unlikely flock of nuns, the Rev Mother was a combination of overseer, spiritual compass, and source of some rather clever humor. Her performance was especially well done considering she was a last minute replacement for Lori Maxwell, who underwent emergency surgery during the production run. Gronseth had only two weeks to learn the part and, like a real trooper, she pulled if off.
But it was Augusta Lane (Sr. Mary Paul aka Sr. Amnesia) who stole the show. It seems her character suffered from amnesia and her recovery was a little less than complete, leaving her with a blissful disconnect with reality. In one scene the audience exploded when one of the sisters said they were offered a free ride to the mustang ranch. Sr. Amnesia was excited to be going to a horse ranch, and a bit embarrassed when they whispered the real meaning in her ear.
Angel Brelie (Sr. Hubert) and Stephanie Briggs (Sr. Robert Anne) both combined wonderful singing and acting talents with a flare for dry comedy. Sr. Robert Anne was a former street wise gal from Brooklyn and belonged to a gang before taking her vows. You can see the rebel in her soul in her red tennis shoes she wears. One of the several excellent numbers by Sr. Hubert was the song and dance routine to “What Plays in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”
Abbi Bennett (Sr. Mary Leo) was the newcomer to the group, with her first performance at St. Croix Off Broadway. She demonstrated a talent for dance and a wonderful singing voice. We can expect to see her back in future performances.
Out of the many fine numbers during the two act play, the one that stood out was Augusta Lane’s “A Little Goes a Long Way” done with her puppet Sr. Mary Annette. That performance alone was worth the price of admission.
If you are looking for a wonderful evening of lighthearted entertainment without a high price tag, I wholeheartedly recommend Nunsensations! You will have a fun time.
Nunsensations! The Nunsense Vegas Revue is scheduled through August 15th at St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre located in the Best Western Hudson House Inn in Hudson, WI. For times and ticket prices you can go on-line at www.stcroixoffbroadway.com or contact the box office at 715-386-2394 extension 333.
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St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre
1616 Crest View Drive, Hudson, WI 54016 Box Office: (715)386.2394 ext. 333
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