NUNCRACKERS, Nutcracker(s), What’s the Difference?

by Lila Achuff

First of all, if you have to ask, you’ll never know.  But I’ll tell you anyway.  NUNCRACKERS The Nunsense Christmas Musical (book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggin) is being performed in our neck of the woods at Hedgerow, America’s first repertory theatre (Rose Valley, PA near Media).  It is the fourth show in a series of NUNSENSE musicals with the first performed off-Broadway in 1985 until 1995, the second longest-running off-Broadway show (The Fantasticks, the first).  There are six sequels (give or take one, depending on who’s counting what).  The reason I mention this is because I’m familiar with three of them and there is a thread of repetition throughout the shows.  If this will be your first experience with a NUNSENSE show, then you’re in for a treat.  These take-offs on nuns and their “habits” are humorous, lively, silly … and they sing and dance!  OK, they get serious once in awhile.  No need to worry about the many nuances that kids might not get (and maybe non-Catholics too), as it is considered a family show.  So … lighten up!  Come on in!  The water’s fine!

Decorating the tree: front from left Sarah Gafgen and Micki Sharpe; on ladder left, Heidi Starr and right, Susan Wefel in NUNCRACKERS at Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley PA through January 9, 2011.

We are in the basement of the Mount Saint Helen’s Convent with the Little Sisters of Hoboken, five Sister Marys (why not) who are taping a cable access special (the annual Christmas show, of course) in their new TV studio, along with Father Virgil Manly Trott (he does a mean Sister Julia cooking and “tasting” while slowly deteriorating … it’s comical just thinking about it.) Take a bow, Carl Smith.  Presenting our delightful Sisters:  Micki Sharpe (Director/Choreographer of this production of NUNCRACKERS… for real!) as tough-ish Sr. Mary Regina (Mother Superior); practical Sr. Mary Hubert, second head honcho (Susan Wefel); endearing airhead, Sr. Mary Paul (a.k.a. Sr. Amnesia … a crucifix fell on her head) played by Heidi Starr; street-smart Sr. Mary Robert Anne from Brooklyn (Sarah J. Gafgen); Sr. Mary Leo (fake character … go figure).  Enter two boys and two girls, Mount Saint Helen’s students:  John (Sam Dahlke/Dominic Mueller), Louise (Meghan Hadley/Karly Stec), Maria (Brianna Hadley/Emma Nederostek) and Billy (Eric Hadley/Andrew Manwaring).  Good job, you all!  You helped to keep the ball rolling.

Act I:  Dilemma #1 … Sr. Leo suffers an injury making her grand entrance in the ballet.  What to do?  Everyone gets into the act.

Act II:  Dilemma #2 … The gifts are “stolen” from under the Christmas tree.  Now what? 

Readers, we’re fortunate to have a cozy little theatre in our own backyard where we can go for a night out, relax, have a laugh and be with family and friends.  And it’s exciting for performers to play to a full house.  So … get a group together and come yuk it up!

Forget your troubles, come on, get happy …

Until the next show …

Book, Music and Lyrics by Dan Goggin
Directed by Micki Sharpe
December 14, 2010 – January 9, 2011
Hedgerow Theatre
64 Rose Valley Road
Rose Valley, PA

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