You can’t keep the good “Little Sisters of Hoboken” down. In fact, their first “fundraiser” at Folsom’s Sutter Street Theatre (“Nunsense”) last year was so successful they are back at it with “Nunsense II: The Second Coming.”
Now, there really are no “Sisters of Hoboken.” The characters are entirely fictitious, brought to life by Connie Mockenhaupt (Reverend Mother Sister Mary Regina) and an able cast.
When one sits in the little theater on Sutter Street reality is suspended. Especially when one is engaged in a game of Catholic BINGO. Audience participation — and attention — is engaged throughout the musical.
If you grew up going to Catholic school, there will be insider humor galore for you. If you didn’t, that’s all right. The nuns will help educate you — and without rulers.
This sequel to the first musical puts the sisters six weeks after they have staged their first benefit. Now they are presenting a “thank you” show for their benefactors. But they’ve also been bitten by “the Show Biz Bug.”
The show is interrupted by two Franciscans who come to claim Sister Mary Amnesia (played by Sarah Kalsey Null) because she won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. Everyone wants her money, including the Little Sisters of Hoboken. But that is secondary … the show must go on!
“Nunsense II” has some endearing characters, for all their apparent simplicity.
Sister Mary Leo is a postulant (a kind of “nun in waiting”) who dreams of becoming a famous dancer. What would a musical be without some dancing? I must say, the entire cast is very flexible, limber — and modest, as nuns should be.
Sister Robert Anne (Lauren Ettensohn) is larger and tougher than life, and works with kids. She struggles to rein in her personality and conform. Yet, her character yearns, as so many cradle Catholics do,for the “good old days.” Her song “I am Here to Stay” is a show stealer for its reverence and sensitivity.
Another show stealer is Sister Mary Hubert (Pricilla Harris), the novice mistress. Her rock ’n roll rendition of “What Would Elvis Do?” is fun and quirky.
But the undeniable star of the show is Connie Mockenhaupt, whose Reverend Mother is delightful, gracious and filled with human frailty.
“Nunsense II” is an enjoyable lark for Catholics who aren’t afraid to poke fun at themselves – and for everyone else, too. You really won’t find anything disrespectful to the faith here. In fact, you may walk away with a little hope. As the closing number of the musical states, “There’s Only One Way to End Your Prayers,” and that’s to say “Amen.”
“Nunsense II: The Second Coming” is performed on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 4 p.m. This production runs through April 22. Tickets are $23 general, $21 seniors and SARTA members, $18 for students and $15 for children 12 and under. The Sutter Street Theatre is located at 717 Sutter Street in Folsom. For tickets and information, call (916) 353-1001 or visit www.sutterstreettheatre.com.
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