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REVIEW: Nunsense at Rhino Theatre

By Adam F. Cohen

REVIEW: Nunsense at Rhino TheatreThe surviving nuns of the Little Sisters of Hoboken are beset with mishap. Having lost the other 52 of their order to some rancid vichyssoise made by their own cook, are putting on a variety show to raise the money to bury the final four nuns as their previous fundraising fell slightly short and they had to resort to popping the poor dears in the freezer…temporarily.  With the board of health breathing down on them and some of their funds diverted to other forms of entertainment, these enterprising nuns sing and dance their way into your hearts.

Despite the set up, this is light hearted entertainment that has gentle snipes at current events (Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton) and is blessed with six female performers who’s voices blend wonderfully in joyful singing.  Dan Goggin’s musical has been performed around the world for decades and features pretty much every type of song – country, gospel, religious.

All these nuns are jostling for the spotlight, all harboring secret longings for the stage, which of course adds to the hilarity and the fun. Reverend Mother (Beth Valenti) tries to maintain her ‘superiority’ until she discovers a bottle of “Rush” in the girls locker room and succumbs to its effects. Sister Mary Amnesia (Ann Alfano) is also wonderful as the young nun who received a blow to the head by a falling crucifix and can no longer remember her name. There is Sister Mary Leo (Alexa Racioppi) who longs to be the world's first nun ballerina, and Sister Robert Ann (Cheryl Alessio) who chafes at being the understudy and is so desperate to perform she takes every opportunity she can to show off, and Sister Mary Hubert,(Randi Seffinger) Mother Superior’s right hand nun, who’s surprising gospel power rivals our Lady Aretha’s. And the nun of a thousand habits (Caitlin Jurewicz) playing multiple roles including the Sister Julia – the unfortunate chef.

No moment is left idle, no joke unexamined, no harmony unsung, no plight un-prayed for. They have earned the right to be “Holier than Thou,” but they would rather tackle your soul with a few she-bops, ballet, and tap.

Every Sister gets a chance to shine in Buzz Theater Productions’ effort.  Highlights include Racioppi’s graceful dancing, the slow discovery of Alfano’s true identity, and all of the group numbers.  Director Jo Ann Ventor keeps the pace lively.  If a joke doesn’t land fully, don’t worry another one is following in the next sentence.  The audience even gets in on the act as the sisters interact through out the show.



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This is a little respite from the chaos going on out in the world or between your ears. Nunsense is an invitation to hand over the wheel to these eager servants of the Lord and let them give you a couple of hours of silly, sentimental and sublime entertainment. No fuss, no muss, no complications - just entertainment with staying power that, you should pardon the expression, goes down easy. Just the way it’s been doing for 30 years.

The production runs through Sunday, June 5th at the Rhino Theater in Pompton Lakes.  More information at smilingrhinotheatre.com



originally published: 2016-06-04 00:00:00


From Our Magazine

Theatre Preview: February 2018

Theatre Preview: February 2018

Each month, New Jersey Stage Magazine presents a special advertising section promoting shows around the Garden State. All theatres (professional and community) can be part of this preview each month by advertising with New Jersey Stage.  The preview runs in our monthly magazine and online, with links back to the theatre's website.  It's a great way to promote your play throughout the entire state.


Ain’t Misbehavin’

Ain’t Misbehavin’

The arts community throughout New Jersey has been buzzing with anticipation ever since the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center project was first announced.  It will be a facility to rival any in Central New Jersey and one that will be home to many arts organizations.  


Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss Daisy

Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken will kick off 2018 with a production of Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry.  The play, set in the South between the late 1940s and early 1970s, explores an unlikely friendship between an elderly white Southern Jewish woman, Daisy Werthan, and her African-American chauffer, Hoke Colburn. The original production ran for nearly 1,200 performances and won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, while a 1989 film starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, and Dan Aykroyd won the Academy Award for Best Picture.


"The Calling" An Interview With Playwright Joel Stone

"The Calling" An Interview With Playwright Joel Stone

New Jersey Repertory Company presents the World Premiere of The Calling by Joel Stone from January 4th through February 4th in Long Branch. This play was commissioned by NJPAC’s Stage Exchange in Association with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and NJRep.








EVENT CALENDAR
Thursday, Feb 22, 2018

Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 8:00pm

ART @ Centenary Stage Company - Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Beauty and The Beast @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 4:00pm

Wild Horses - February 22-March 25,2018 @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

American Hero @ George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick - 2:00pmand 8:00pm






Seton Hall University Theatre STEEL MAGNOLIAS @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm



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