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Nun too soon

Patrons have pestered the Angel Cabaret Theatre owner to put Nunsense on the stage, and finally the musical comedy is here.

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 11, 2003

Ever since the Angel Cabaret Theatre opened its doors in October 2001, patrons have been asking owner Jimmy Ferraro to do one particular show: Nunsense.

Ferraro had drawn full houses when he produced the show at his small Angel "garden cafe" Theatre in 1996, and it did well when he directed it in May 2000 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.

Now he is bringing back, again with Dee Etta Rowe in the lead as the Reverend Mother and Chelle St. Pierre as the novitiate who wants to dance ballet, Sister Mary Leo.

Sista "B" (Ain't Misbehavin') will play Sister Hubert, Jodi Lynn Sylvester (Marian Paroo in The Music Man at the Show Palace) will play Sister May Amnesia, and Angel Cabaret newcomer Becca McCoy, who once played Alais in the Royalty Theatre's production of The Lion in Winter, will play Sister Robert Anne.

Nunsense and its sequels have become something of a cottage industry for playwright Dan Goggin since the original's debut Off-Broadway in 1985. That one ran for nearly 10 years; at one time, about 300 different productions were going on around the world.

Its three sequels haven't seen similar popularity, but they have held their own with community and regional theater and touring company audiences.

It's easy to see why people love the show. It's light-hearted, easy-going and filled with knee-slapping one-liners. Goggin and the licensing company allow actors and directors to add local touches, as long as the play's integrity isn't compromised, which means the actors can add accents and local references, as well as wing it with the audience, adding to the fun.

Nunsense is set in Hoboken, N.J., at the Mount St. Helen's convent and school. The setup is that the convent cook, Sister Julia (Child of God), whipped up a batch of vichyssoise that, unfortunately, poisoned 52 of the sisters.

Fortunately, five of the sisters were playing bingo with another order in another town and escaped harm, so they could see to the respectful burial of their convent sisters.

They were able to scrape together enough money to bury 48 of them, but are keeping the other four on ice until they can get enough money to bury them.

Someone suggests a talent show, and the sisters are off and running.

Sidenote: Ferraro is bringing back the caterer he had in January, New York Style Catering.

At a glance

WHAT: Nunsense, a musical comedy

WHERE: Angel Cabaret Theatre, 5201 U.S. 19, New Port Richey

WHEN: Today-May 18. Shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays, and 1:30 p.m. some weekdays and Saturdays. Doors open two hours before each show for cash wine and beer bar and buffet.

TICKETS: Dinner and show, $34.50; show only, $21.95. Ages 12 and younger, $22.50 and $16.95. Call (727) 847-0019.

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