Monday, February 14, 2011

Nunsensations! Opens Season at The Lyric Theatre

Front row, L to R: Bonnie Snyder, Dorrie Braun, Doreen Calderon
Back row: Tracy McBurnett, Becky Birdsong. Photo: Michael Calas

Dan Goggin immortalized the Little Sisters of Hoboken in his Nunsense musical comedy series, which was one of off-Broadway’s longest running and biggest successes. Six sequels followed capitalizing on the quirky sisters’ ability to sing and dance their way in and out of some hilariously entertaining situations.

The Lyric Theatre in Los Angeles has opened it’s 2011 season with the seventh musical in the series, Nunsensations! The Nunsense Vegas Revue, which finds the sisters about to put on a show at the Pump Room Lounge of the Mystique Motor Lodge. Reverend Mother has her doubts about appearing in Sin City, but the $10,000 donation they will receive for doing the show is for a good cause – their school – so she goes along with the plan. Besides, everyone knows what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…

Pre-show begins with the sisters collecting names from the audience for their Holy Rollers spin-the-wheel game that will take place later in the show, complete with prizes (trip to the Mustang Ranch anyone?) It’s a fun way to engage the audience and the personable sisters get right down to business. Then it’s time for Reverend Mother’s big entrance, and the sisters are off and running, with the whole crew singing the snappy “Life is a Game of Chance” to open the show.

Sequins, feathers, and glitter combined with a whole lotta shtick make up the rest of the evening. Sister Mary Annette goes missing, Amnesia wins big in the casino, Leo sings about the boy she left behind, and the Cirque Du Blimp crashes and burns. In the end, everything turns out just fine.

Amy Rowell directs Lyric Theatre Company members Becky Birdsong (Sister Robert Anne), Dorrie Braun (Sister Mary Hubert) and Bonnie Snyder (Reverend Mother) along with Tracy McBurnett (Sister Mary Leo) and Doreen Calderon (Sister Mary Amnesia), who brings a wide-eyed innocence to her role. She’s just so gosh-darned happy that you can't help smiling along with her.

The show features some fun showgirl choreography and energetic comedy dance bits by Josh Brodis but had difficulty vocally on opening night. Still, there are some hearty laughs hidden amid all the shtick.

Nunsenations! runs through March 13th at the Lyric Theatre, 520 N. La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, 90036. Street parking is available. For more information and tickets go to

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