Fight cabin fever with some ‘Nunsense’
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media January 30, 2014 7:56PM
Clockwise from top right: Patti Roeder, Jane Brewer, Kristine Burdi, Missy Aguilar, and Monica Szaflik star in “Nunsense.” | Photo by Trademan Photography
♦ Through March 9
♦ Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles
♦ Tickets, $32-$42
♦ (630) 584-6342
Updated: January 30, 2014 7:56PM
Get ready to party down with the sisters.
Fox Valley Repertory opens their 2014 theater series with Dan Goggin’s international hit, “Nunsense.”
Directed and choreographed by Brigitte Ditmars with music direction by Jeffrey Poindexter, performances will be at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays through March 9. Thursday performances are at 8 p.m. Jan. 30, Feb. 6 and 13, and 2 p.m. March 6.
Patti Roeder of Oak Park stars as the Mother Superior, Sister Mary Regina. She’s a veteran of the show as well, having played Sister Mary Leo about 15 years ago. She was also in a production of “Meshugga-Nuns” at the Chicago Jewish Theater, where she played Mother Superior as well.
“So this is my third ‘Nunsense’ ride,” she said. “They are so much fun to do. They are singing, dancing nuns. What’s not to love?”
Fortunately, the songs and dances came back to her fairly quickly in the story about the five Little Sisters of Hoboken, who discover that 52 fellow nuns were accidentally poisoned by their convent’s cook.
Since the Reverend Mother Regina was a former circus performer, she comes up with the idea stage a variety show to raise funds for four burials. Helping her out are Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of the Novices; streetwise Sister Robert Anne; wannabe-ballerina Sister Mary Leo, and the delightfully wacky Sister Mary Amnesia.
“Complications arise from that,” Roeder said. “It’s a musical comedy — lots of musical numbers and funny stuff. Very improbable situations, but if you buy into the premise of a bunch of nuns putting on a fundraiser, you’re ready.”
There are five nuns and a piano-playing priest. There are solos, duets and group numbers.
“The group numbers are a lot of fun,” she said. “I’ve got my own solo and a couple of monologues that are funny. One monologue in particular at the end of act one for me is very challenging, and a lot of fun and just silly. Those are my favorite moments in the show.”
The cast works well together and has a great chemistry, she said. That’s good because the show runs through March.
“Nunsense” is the perfect fun, light-hearted show for this time of year, she said.
“It’s total escapism,” she said. “But on the other hand, it doesn’t make fun of nuns. They are having a good time performing. Each nun has a moment or two where you get to see their inner self. There’s actually a very poignant moment in the play about vocation and who you are that make them very real and relatable people. And there are a lot of very silly and joyous moments as well. There’s a real good balance.”
Audiences should expect to be fully entertained by the show, she said.
“If you were brought up Catholic, there are a lot of things that will instantly trigger your memory,” she said. “If you’re not Catholic, it doesn’t matter at all. It’s very enjoyable and not hard to follow at all. It’s a lot of fun. People should expect to have a good time.”
The cast of “Nunsense” features Roeder, Missy Aguilar and Jane Brewer of West Chicago, Kristine Burdi of Wheeling and Monica Szaflik of Norridge.
“Nunsense” is rated PG-13. Dinner packages, group discounts and overnight rates are also available.