By Allison Bauers
Nuncrackers The Nunsense Musical played to a small, but very appreciative crowd willing to brave dire weather forecasts to make their way to The Lofte Community Theatre just outside Manley. Typical of the shows in the Nunsense franchise, it’s sure to put a smile on your face this Christmas season.
This Nunsense Christmas musical is the fourth in the Nunsense series of nine musicals. Dan Goggin authored the book, music and lyrics. Set in the basement of Mount Saint Helen’s convent, the premise is the nuns and some of their students are taping for television the annual Christmas program. For those familiar with the Nunsense franchise, you’ll find the nuns you love and remember plus Father Virgil and a group of students. You’ll find the typical Nunsense humor with bits of information from the earlier shows to fill in any gaps of information the audience needs to fully understand the situations and characters. In true Nunsense fashion you’ll find tons of audience participation, good-humored witticisms as well as Christmas carols.
Janet Sorensen as Sister Mary Regina shows the terrific power of her classically trained voice as she reminisces about her childhood in “A Carnival Christmas.” A convincing but subtle Irish accent enhanced her believability as the Reverend Mother.
Father Virgily Manly Trott portrayed by Ross Mumford gave the audience a couple of what turned out to be some of my favorite scenes. His comedic interpretation of how to make a fruitcake dressed as the never seen but always present character of Sister Julia Child of God provided some of the biggest laughs of the night. The beauty of Mumford’s voice was unmatched all evening when he sang “The Christmas Box.” It’s worth the drive to Manley just to hear him share his great gift singing about Christmas gifts.
In each of the Nunsense shows I’ve been able to see I’ve been a big fan of Goggins’ songs written for Sister Robert Anne, and Nuncrackers did not disappoint. Wendy Allen’s star shone as brightly as any at the top of the Christmas tree when she led the company in “Jesus Was Born in Brooklyn.” Her rough around the edges Brooklyn persona softened and her voice echoed beautifully through the rafters of The Lofte barn theatre. Her storytelling, her voice, and the harmonies of the company created one of the most beautiful moments of the evening.
The second act opens with terrific harmonies from all of the nuns, with Betty Colbert, Allison Tiller, and Brenda J. Jones adding their voices to those already mentioned. Colbert shows off tremendous pipes leading the gospelesque “It’s Better to Give” from Sister Mary Hubert. Tiller as Sister Mary Paul (aka Amnesia) provides wonderful comic moments in songs like “Santa Ain’t Comin’ To Our House” and as she leads the terrific team of kids in misunderstood lyrics such as “The Holly and the Ivory” and “Here We Come A-Waffling.” Another audience favorite was “In the Convent” ala The Village People with all the Sisters and Father Virgil (complete with Native American head dress). There isn’t a weak link anywhere in this cast with strong performances from the children playing the Mount Saint Helen’s Students: Dayton Carlson, Lucas Hrabik, Sharlan Skrupa, Daniel Davis, Kharis Jensen, and Brooklyn Tiller.
Neatly tucked into the set is an onstage band that was perfectly balanced to the cast, never overpowering. The show is directed by Kevin Colbert with choreography by Chloe Bohaty and Noelle Bohaty. Costume design is by Janet Sorensen, and the scenic artistry of Linda Dabbs is truly beautiful.
If you go: The Lofte Community Theatre is located at 15841 Manley Road near Manley. Tickets are available on their website or by calling 402-234-2553. Nuncrackers The Nunsense Musical runs December 1 – 2, 7 – 9, and 13 – 16 with Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows at 7 PM and Sunday matinees at 2 PM.