HUDSON — The Hudson Players are in the process of converting the Barlow Community Center into the Little Sisters of Hoboken convent for the upcoming production of Nunsense, the habit- forming musical.
Written by Dan Goggin, and winner of four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Off Broadway Musical, Nunsense runs Feb. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 23 and 24. Showtime is 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 18. Typically, musical matinees are the first to sell-out, so patrons interested in securing tickets can go to www.hudsonplayers.com, or call the Hudson Players box office at 330-655-8522 for more information.
Nunsense begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth-grade production of "Grease."
The audience meets the Rev. Mother Regina, a former circus performer who can’t resist the spotlight, played by Sharon Lloyd of Shaker Heights; Sister Mary Hubert, the mistress of novices who has her eyes on Mother Superior’s job, played by Shelly Palumbo of Kent; a streetwise nun from Brooklyn named Sister Robert Anne, played by Carri Wagner of Akron; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who wants to be the first nun ballerina, played by Macey Staninger of Solon; and the delightfully wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head, played by Jessica DeFrange of Kent.
With songs such as "Nunsense is Habit Forming," "Tackle That Temptation with a Time Step," "So You Want to be a Nun," "Just a Couple of Sisters" and "Holier Than Thou," Nunsense features star turns, a nun puppet, tap dancing, a nun ballet, an interactive audience participation quiz and other comic surprises.
Director and choreographer Chanda K. Porter of Akron was greatly impressed by the humor inherent in Nunsense and loved the idea of doing a smaller show.
"After directing large casts in South Pacific and Hello Dolly at Carnation City Players in Alliance I loved the idea of doing a small, five-person all female cast," said Porter. "Nunsense has comedy with a heart, but just because they are holy women doesn’t mean they can’t be catty and a bit wacky, too. I also have been blessed with a fabulously talented group of actresses who truly are the answer to a director’s prayer."
From a choreography perspective, Porter also was attracted by the wide variety of dancing styles in Nunsense.
"The dance routines in the show really help tell the story, especially the novice who wants to be a ballerina. And who doesn’t want to see tap dancing nuns?!"
Most recently for Hudson Players, Porter appeared on stage in last season’s On the Twentieth Century and appeared in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical at Stow Players and Always, Patsy Cline at Actors’ Summit. She also has received awards from the Ohio Community Theatre Association at the regional and state level for other performances.
The musical director for Nunsense is Dave Stebbins of Stow. He has been directing or musical directing at area community theatres and high schools for 36 years. No stranger to Hudson Players, Stebbins first directed Annie Get Your Gun in 1987 and most recently directed On the Twentieth Century and Spamalot, which he also directed at Weathervane Playhouse. For his next project, Stebbins will be doing the music for Dogfight at Western Reserve Playhouse. Ron Jones of Stow is the assistant musical director for the show.
The cast of Nunsense is a mix of Hudson Players veterans and one making her debut. Prior to being cast as the Reverend Mother, Sharon Lloyd appeared in last season’s On the Twentieth Century. Over a 20-year theatrical career she has performed and sang in many productions, and recently was a scholarship recipient with the Performing Arts Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska!
Jessica DeFrange continues a string of Hudson Players appearances, having played Abigail Adams in 1776, which garnered her an award for excellence at the OCTA state-wide competition, and also appeared as Mrs. Banks in last year’s sold-out Mary Poppins. Raised in Kent to a musical family, DeFrange fronts the Akron-based band The City Jazz, and serves as director of music at St. Patrick’s Church.
Shelly Palumbo joined Hudson Players last year, appearing in both Mary Poppins and On the Twentieth Century. She also has appeared at Stow Players and directs the adult choir at her church.
Macey Staninger last appeared at Hudson Players in Suessical. She started appearing on stage at the age of 3 and has now appeared in more than 100 productions, including Steel Magnolias at Aurora Community Theatre, and most recently a series of one acts at Gates Mills Players. New to Hudson Players is Carri Wagner, who returns to the community theatre stage after a nearly 25-year hiatus since last performing in Anything Goes at Goodyear Theater.
To purchase tickets for Nunsense go to www.hudsonplayers.com, or call the Hudson Players box office at 330-655-8522 for more information. For email inquiries send to email@example.com.