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‘Nunsensations’ – a musical miracle on stage

 

Those who enjoy a performance with shtick are sure to appreciate the Chetco Pelican Players’ musical production of “Nunsensations! – The Nunsense Vegas Revue.”

This play brings back a cast of characters from previous “Nunsense” plays while at the same time brings a few firsts to local theater, both good and bad – but ultimately all good.

“Nunsensations” was to be one of the first local theater productions in recent history to have live music accompany the songs, as well as be performed in the background. However, plans went awry as Director Nancy Carson could not find a pianist willing to perform for the originally-scheduled nine performances. Opening night was postponed for two weeks and the number of performances cut back to six. Rehearsals continued.

Still with no pianist to be found, the cast voted to cancel the production in hopes of bringing it back next year. An article in the Curry Coastal Pilot announced the cancelation. 

Never before had the Chetco Pelican Players had to cancel a show when the set was built and the cast was ready for opening night. 

Meanwhile, pianist William Hedge, who had moved to Fort Dick two weeks earlier, picked up a copy of the Pilot and the article caught his attention. He made contact with Carson that the show must go on.

Not only did the theater group find itself with a pianist, but a voice coach as well. In five days, Hedge had the singers doing their best, and he had the entire score perfected. Hedge showed his true professional playing ability. 

 

How professional is he? Most recently he has played in hotels and restaurants throughout California’s Central Valley, but prior to that, spent 15 years in New York City playing off-Broadway.

Thanks to Hedge’s voice coaching, the singing was excellent. Dance moves were in proper time and, perhaps because of the extra rehearsals, missed lines were nowhere to be heard.

The all-female cast consists of Bj Farris as Sister Mary Regina, Mary Anne Trailor as Sister Mary Hubert, Karen Carr as Sister Robert Anne, Ariel Farris as Sister Mary Leo, Tawndy Davidson as Sister Mary Paul, all of whom had singing and dancing roles. Most amazing is, who would have thought nuns could have so may costume changes?

Bit parts are played by Daisy Carr as Sister Mary George and Sister Mary Annette as herself. It’s evident that Mary Annette (say it out loud) pulled a few strings to be on the show.

“Nunsensations,” the sixth show in Dan Goggin’s “Nunsense” series, takes the sisters on a brand new adventure. When a parishioner volunteers to donate $10,000 to the sisters’ school if they will perform in a club in Las Vegas, Mother Superior is hesitant to accept. 

However, after being convinced by the other sisters that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Reverend Mother agrees. What follows is “the most feather-filled, sequin-studded, fan dancing ‘Nunsense’ show ever,” according to the Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc., the agency that distributes the show. 

Performing in The Pump Room high atop the three-story Mystique Motor Lodge, the sisters experience “show-biz” like never before.

The set of the show is the stage in “The Pump Room.” However, based on the dialogue and actions, it was hard to tell if the nuns were presenting a live performance, or a dress rehearsal on The Pump Room stage. But don’t let this be a discouragement to see the play; it is hilarious.

The play, which opened June 25, was not shown during the Fourth of July three-day weekend. It will return to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 8, at the Chetco Playhouse, 1240 Chetco Ave., Brookings. Final shows will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9, and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 10.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the Salty Dog, Book Dock, Chetco Pharmacy and Gifts or at the door. Reservations may be made by calling 541-469-1877.

For information about this and future productions, visit www.chetcopelicanplayers. org.

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