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Lord, have mercy: They're in Vegas

A rollicking new version of Nunsense gets the outrageous antics and songs going Oct. 13-22 at Stage West Community Playhouse.

By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN
Published October 6, 2006


Over the last dozen years, Nunsense creator Dan Goggin's Little Sisters of Hoboken have made four visits to Stage West Community Playhouse: Nunsense in 1994; Nunsense II, the Second Coming in 1995; and Nuncrackers, the Nunsense Christmas Musical in December 2001 and 2002.

On Oct. 13, they'll return for a fifth, this time in Nunsensations: The Nunsense Vegas Revue.

"It's a really fun show," said Betsy Glasson (Victor/Victoria; Over the River and Through the Woods), who plays Sister Mary Regina, the mother superior. "It's my first time to be in one of these (Nunsense) shows, and I'm getting a real kick out of it."

In this edition, the sisters are asked to leave their austere convent, Mount Saint Helens, for the glamor and glitz of Sin City, but it's for a good cause. It seems a parishioner has pledged $10,000 to the convent if the sisters do their act "high atop the third floor of the Mystique Motor Lodge" in Vegas.

Mother Superior agrees to take her troupe and go, but only after she's assured that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

The show has fun with Vegas staples like Cirque du Soleil in the musical number Cirque du Blimp and with the Broadway blockbuster A Chorus Line in a sendup of Dance: Ten, Looks: Three, also known as T&A, only this time it's "Talent and Attitude."

They take pokes at Vegas itself with wordplay songs worthy of a Nashville showcase: When the Chips Are Down, What's Black and White With Her Money on Red? and Double or Nothing.

They don feathers and furs, sparkle and glitter to spice up their show.

Actor-director Tom Russell (Victor/Victoria; Into the Woods) created "some of the wild costumes," Ms. Glasson said.

Leanne Germann (Victor/Victoria; Once Upon a Mattress) reprises her role as the tough, streetwise Sister Robert Anne. Susan Schildbach (Kiss Me, Kate; Into the Woods) joins the Nunsense cast as Sister Mary Hubert, the convent's second in command and supervisor of novices.

Wahnita Dow-Sessa, who played Sister Mary Hubert in the Christmas version of Nunsense a few years ago, this time plays the ditzy Sister Mary Paul, who came to the convent in the first installment of the series as Sister Amnesia, a country-western singing dynamo. The cast is rounded out with Jessica Nichol (My Fair Lady; Black Coffee; Finian's Rainbow) as the shy, dreamy, aspiring dancer Sister Mary Leo.

The director is Wayne Raymond, who also directed Nunsense II and both productions of Nuncrackers.

Raymond and daughter Briana (title role in Oliver!), who recently earned a degree in theater arts at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., designed the sets.