NUNSENSE at NAC is “Habit-Forming”

by Lesley Grigg
NUNSENSE - Newtown Arts Company

Newtown Arts Company’s production of NUNSENSE by Dan Goggin features the Little Sisters of Hoboken including, from left, Sister Mary Dewey Decimal played by Dori Dugan of Ivyland, Sister Mary Leo played by Samantha Riesenberg of Philadelphia and Sister Robert Ann played by Amanda Murphy of Langhorne.

When tragedy struck the Little Sisters of Hoboken, the Sisters joined the Newtown Arts Company to raise their voices in order to raise some funds, and ended up raising a little bit of NUNSENSE in the process.

This musical comedy called for audience participation from pre-show to curtain call. The nuns hobnobbed with audience members before the “fundraiser” started, the audience was quizzed, Catholic school style, at the beginning of Act One, intermission doubled as a comedy show, and applause was enthusiastically encouraged during the final bow. Throughout the show, the Sisters also interacted with the lively pit band made up of Sister Mary Pianissimo (Susan den Outer), Brother Cadence (Mike Dettra), and Brother Bass (Mike McGarry).

NUNSENSE - Newtown Arts Company

Sister Mary Amnesia, played by Jillian Ambs of Churchville, gets a lesson from Sister Marionnette to the surprise of other Little Sisters of Hoboken played by Dori Dugan of Ivyland, Samantha Riesenberg of Philadelphia and Amanda Murphy of Langhorne.

The spirited show proved how dedicated these women were to prayer, service, and humor. The group was led by Mother Superior, Sister Mary Regina (Regina Deavitt) who provided both direction and entertainment with her authoritative air and contagious laugh. As second in command, Sister Mary Hubert (Jane Landes) harmonized well with Mary Regina and offered motherly guidance to the younger Sisters. Landes had a pleasant quality in her voice, but she waited till the last song of the evening to project. Streetwise-Sister Robert Anne (Amanda Murphy) also exhibited exceptional tone and showed a wide vocal range through her upbeat and sentimental songs. Sister Mary Amnesia (Jillian Ambs) demonstrated expert comedic timing while she tried to remember her past and collaborated with her special puppet friend. Sister Mary Leo (Samantha Riesenberg) must have strong facial muscles with the amount of wide mouth grins she displayed throughout her performance. Her vocal and rhythmic abilities were also on full display. The remaining members of this vibrant group include Sister Mary Cardelia (Mary Kate Pullman), nurse Sister Mary Euthanasia (Florence Mitchell), librarian Sister Mary Dewey Decimal (Dori Dugan), and fitness guru Sister Mary Zumba (Jill Laurinaitis Dignan). The full cast clearly had fun on stage, one sign that they will make a habit of entertaining audiences throughout the run of the show.

by Dan Goggin
Directed by Mary Liz Ivins
February 7-13, 2013
Newtown Arts Company
Newtown Theatre
120 North State Street
Newtown, PA 18940

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