According to Lizanne Ingram, the director of The Glenmore Playhouse production of Nunsense by Dan Goggin, the play is a valentine to nuns Dan Groggin actually knew. She says directing this play was a labor of love for her because she has also known many loving, brilliant nuns.
I don't often use the word "rollicking" but it is a perfect description of this play. This coming weekend promises to be a house sellout as was last Sunday when I saw the play. The action centers around the sisters' need to raise money to bury the last four of over fifty sisters who died from poisonous soup accidentally served by their cook. The remaining nuns did not die because they were away from the convent at the time. The Mother Superior decides to do a song, dance and comedy skits program to raise the money to bury the four.
It cannot have been an easy play to cast. All of the actresses must complement the others and project vibrant personalities. In addition, they must be able to dance, and sing as well as act.
Because my son, Ray, is the "Master Carpenter" for The Drama Workshop, I hear extra tidbits. For instance, one night, a light blew out shortly before a performance. One of the usually unseen but important crew members rushed off to get a replacement bulb and Sister Mary Robert Anne, (Amy Waldfogle) stepped in and entertained the audience with ten minutes of stand-up comedy and commentary.
Sister Mary Leo, played by Kate Stark, a veteran dancer, had never tried dancing AND singing, AND acting. Her performance was certainly didn't look like a first time effort. She danced "Soup's On", The Dying Nun Ballet. Very funny.
I sat beside a lifelong friend of Sister Mary Hubert (Karen Sowards). Because of Karen, her friend was at The Glenmore Playhouse for the first time. Karen provided her friend with lots of laughs. I loved her performance of "Holier Than Thou", musical instruction on becoming a saint.
Seventeen high school students attended because the theater director at their high school, Dianna L. Davis, played Sister Mary Regina, the Mother Superior. I have a feeling they see her in an entirely new light.
I didn't hear any stories about Sister Mary Amnesia,( Catherine Shultz). but I wonder if this is the first time she has been called upon to be the "straight man" for a ventriloquist dummy. She took its comments with good grace.
As always, the snacks at Intermission followed the theme of the play, thanks to the imagination of the Cindi and Gregg Dietrich who are in charge of Hospitality.
My son, Ray Persing, who is a member of The Drama Workshop, recently updated me on awards which the group and individuals associated with the group have received for their production of Nunsense. A partial list follows.
Association of Community Theatres - Cincinnati (ACT) Awards
"ACT legend has it that The Orchid Awards are named after the orchids that were given to each female attendee of the first ACT banquets. Today, the Orchid Awards are ACT - Cincinnati's way to recognize and encourage excellence in over 23 performing and production areas. Orchid Awards are given to those who have been nominated by adjudicators who have attended ACT member productions through the ACT Adjudication Program.
The adjudicators simply nominate those areas of a production they feel are outstanding or excellent examples of the craft. Everyone involved in the production is therefore eligible to be acknowledged by an award. If at least two of the three adjudicators considers a performance or production area of outstanding quality and nominates the same performance or production area, the person or persons responsible for that area is awarded an Orchid. Orchids are therefore highly coveted acknowledgements of the best a production has to offer."
Excellence in Choreography - Lauren Kinker
Excellence in Chorus - Linda Abbott and Cast
Excellence in Dance Execution - Lauren Kinker and Cast
Excellence in Direction - Liz Ingram
Excellence in Ensemble - Liz Ingram and Cast
Excellence in House - Ray Persing and Megan Bush Schultheis
Excellence in Music Direction - Linda Abbott
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Mary Regina - Dianna L. Davis
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Hubert -Karen Sowards
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Robert Anne - Amy Shaffer Waldfogle
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Mary Leo - Kate Stark
Excellence in Musical Theatre Performance as Sr. Mary Amnesia - Catherine Fields Shultz
Excellence in Orchestra - Linda Abbott, Marsha Moore, Eric Day, Charles Kleesattel
Excellence in Overall Performance Quality - Liz Ingram
Excellence in Set Construction - Ray Persing and Crew
Excellence in Stage Management - Tobie Braverman
Excellence in Vocal Direction - Linda Abbott