Musical comedy opens Friday
By Angie Landsverk
The musical “Nunsense” opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 29, at the Waupaca High School Performing Arts Center.
Iola resident and retired Manawa High School choral director Linda Trepasso is directing the musical comedy by Dan Goggin.
The Waupaca Community Theatre is presenting “Nunsense” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 29-30 and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 4-6. There is also a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 31.
General admission tickets are $12 and are available at the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce in downtown Waupaca and also at the door, beginning 30 minutes before each performance.
“Nunsense” begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials.
The sisters decide the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show. So they take over the school auditorium, currently set up for the eighth-grade production of “Grease.”
There the audience meets Rev. Mother Regina, a former circus performer; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; a streetwise nun from Brooklyn named Sister Robert Anne; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is a wannabe ballerina; and the wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head.
Featuring star turns, tap and ballet dancing, an audience quiz and comic surprises, this show has become an international phenomenon.
In addition to the reverend mother and the four featured sisters, additional supporting roles include Sisters Mary Brendan, Mary Luke and Mary Wilhelm, as well as Father Virgil and a chorus of nuns, brothers, priests and students.
“While ‘Nunsense’ may not be as mainstream as ‘Oklahoma’ or ‘South Pacific for theater goers, audience members will find the show engaging and funny,” Trepasso said. “The premise of a fundraising variety show to finance the burying of dead nuns being kept in the freezer is preposterous, but the show uses it as a way to highlight the cast’s talent in different musical styles.”
When asked why she chose to direct it for this summer’s community theater production, Trepasso said, “It was more like the show chose me.”
Someone had another musical in mind, but due to conflicts, another one needed to be selected, she explained.
“John (Kelley) asked me, because I had done it before, if it could do it,” she said.
Fifteen years ago, Trepasso portrayed Sister Mary Hubert in the Iola Community Theatre production of “Nunsense.”
In addition to the cast of about 25 people, the production includes an orchestra of 10 people, as well as a couple eighth-grade girls working in the spotlight area, she said.
For those who have never seen the musical, Trepasso says, “You have to listen closely, because there’s so many jokes, and you don’t want to miss any of them.”
She said there is also a “fabulous tap number. It starts out with one person and then more come in.”
Trepasso said there are many involved behind the scenes to help with other aspects of the show.
“My name is on there as director, but it’s really a team effort,” she said.
Cast members for “Nunsense” include Pam Lysne as Rev. Mother Mary Regina, Julie Neubauer as Sister Mary Hubert, Lori Bauer as Sister Robert Anne, Alexa Johnson as Sister Mary Amnesia and Emma Kelly as Sister Mary Leo.
Other members of the cast are Tamara Jacquet as Sister Julia, Child of God, Tammi Kenton as Sister Mary Wilhelm, Convent Nurse, Matthew Bonikowske as Father Virgil and Nikky Weise and Lily Zabler as Sister Mary Brendan and Sister Mary Luke.
Portraying the Sisters of the Featured Choir are Carmen Riebel, Brayden Kendziora and Katie Anderson.
In the Brothers and Sisters in Song are Deb Jones, Jan Lehrer, Janet Pagel, Kelsey Leaf, Kathleen Daley, Zach Sorenson, Hailey Makuski, Jesse Jankowski, Marshall Lysne, Sarah Bauer, Sue Craig and Jerry Hurst.