Dan Goggin’s musical “Nunsense” plays June 14-30 at Bellingham Theatre Guide, 1600 H St., directed by Michelle (Mish) Kriz.
“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.” Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $14 for seniors and students, $16 for adults, and $8 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available online at www.bellinghamtheatreguild.com or at the BTG Ticket Office, Tuesdays through Saturdays 1 to 6 p.m. Phone is 360-733-1811.
The musical is chock-full of “convent humor,” with multiple references to Broadway shows and characters, so listen closely to catch them all!
Here’s the cast:
Reverend Mother – Kathleen Sasnett
Sister Hubert – Deborah Blakesley
Sister Robert Anne – Natasha McPhaden
Sister Mary Amnesia – Kim Turpin
Sister Mary Leo – Alexandra Farkas
John Bisceglia plays bass and Kathy Murray plays keyboard. Kat Reihl is the innovative choreographer. And costume mistress Genny Cohn once again defies gravity with her “habit” of transforming yards of cloth into wimples, veils, and tunics.
After I saw the preview on Tuesday, June 11, I emailed Alex (Sister Mary Leo) and with post-show energy, she wrote back. Alex’s 18th birthday is today, June 12, and she currently attend Bellingham High School, but she graduates this Friday! She works for her parents at their real estate office, Real Living Bayside Realty in Fairhaven.
I was surprised and amazed at her ability to dance en pointe, so I asked her about her training.
“I studied ballet for 10 years, aged 3-13, and this is actually my first time dancing ballet since then. I have danced at a variety of studios, but the two that I spent the most time at were Northwest Ballet and Ballet Bellingham. At the time I decided to quit dancing I had only been en pointe for a couple of months, and the pointe shoes that I’m wearing in the show were actually practically brand new and have been sitting in my dresser drawer since I was in eighth grade. For this show, we rehearsed five days a week for two to three hours per night.”
Alex seemed very at-home on stage, and it’s no wonder.
“I have been part of over 100 productions in my lifetime, having been involved with theater since I was five years old, when my parents enrolled me at BAAY (the Bellingham Arts Academy For Youth). I performed there for 10 years, and I have also performed at school and with a variety of local community theater groups. I have been involved at the Bellingham Theatre Guild in many capacities on and off stage since I was 14, and my most recent role was Tintinabula in “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum” last summer, which was directed by Judith Owens Lancaster.
I wanted to know how the actors got into their hilarious characters.
“For capturing the personalities of the nuns, I think we all sort of just fell into the characters from the beginning and they always felt very natural. Additionally, Mish really encouraged us to play around with the characters and try new things and from there we kept the things that worked and if we tried something that didn’t fit as well we would just move on to the next thing until eventually we ended the rehearsal process with these hilarious and quirky nuns we have today.”
“Also, Mish sat down with us all individually and had us talk about our takes on our characters, what we think their backstories, likes, dislikes, quirks, and motives for becoming nuns are, etc. She, and we, felt that even though this is a goofy musical comedy, it was still important to be familiar with all the aspects of our characters in order to be able to portray them as best as we possibly could.”
Alex has a note to potential audience members:
“If you like to laugh, then this show is for you! ‘Nunsense’ is wonderful, joyous, hilarious, and not to be missed! There’s so many different styles of humor included, that everyone is sure to love it; It’s a hoot for Catholics and non-Catholics alike! I would probably rate this show PG; however, simply because many of the jokes may go over children’s heads. I could be completely wrong though, because we had a couple of seven-year-olds in the audience at our preview show, and they both said that they loved it! Be sure to buy your tickets now, because most shows are already almost sold out, and we haven’t even officially opened yet! I’m sure that once people get a chance to see it this weekend and start to spread the word about how funny it is, the remaining tickets will disappear almost instantly. So get them while you can, because this is definitely a show that you do not want to miss.”