Washington County Playhouse stages all-male version of "Nunsense A-Men!"
Those who have seen the “Nunsense” musical will find the storyline of Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theater’s production of “Nunsense A-Men” to be exactly the same as the original Dan Goggin musical.
But there’s something a little off about the Little Sisters of Hoboken in this version. It seems all the Sisters have a little stubble on their cheeks. That’s because in this version of “Nunsense A-Men,” the Sisters are really brothers in Sisters’ clothing. In other words, they’re men.
The show kicks off Friday, Jan. 12, and continues Fridays and Saturdays, with select Sundays, through Saturday, Feb. 17, at the downtown Hagerstown theater.
Shawn R. Martin, who owns the theater with wife Laura, has slipped into the habit to play the Reverend Mother.
Martin said selecting one of Goggin’s “Nunsense” was an easy pick for the Playhouse’s season.
“The ‘Nunsense’ shows have been great for theaters all across the country. Back when Dan Goggin wrote the first one, there have been five or six incarnations and they’re a lot of fun,” he said. “Several have been produced here over the years. This has a twist, obviously, as all the sisters are played by men. A lot of the jokes have a new twist when men are delivering those lines. While it’s not a drag show, it certainly has a different element of male musical comedian performers rather than women.”
The show tells the story of the five of the 19 surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken, which was a one-time missionary order that ran a leper colony on an island south of France. While they were off playing bingo, they return to the convent to find that their cook Sister Julie, Child of God, accidentally killed the other 52 residents with her tainted vichyssoise. And now they have to raise funds to help with burial expenses for their last Sisters.
Martin said the audience will enjoy the show because the lineup includes fan favorites Jeff Clise, Jeremy Trammelle, Shawn Nakia Law and Scott Ruble.
And Martin said even if audience members have seen “Nunsense” before, “Nunsense A-Men” is still a new show.
“I think they’ll love seeing the characters again in a little bit of a different light,” he said.
One of Martin’s favorite characters is Sister Amnesia, played by Shawn Nakia Law.
“I like anything to do with Sister Amnesia, she’s hilarious,” Martin said. “A crucifix has hit her on her head and she doesn’t remember who she is, and she also has another little friend she brings with her that adds to some of the comedy.”
Law said he’s played Sister Amnesia in other “Nunsense A-Men!” performances.
“It’s just how ditzy and how silly you get to be with this role,” he said of why he loves it. “That’s the fun part, you can go everywhere with this role.”
Although the habits take a little while to get into, Law said “the dumb voice” was the most challenging aspect of his character.
“Nunsense A-men!” might have to do with nuns, but it’s not a religious show by any means.
“It’s really a fun show. It really lifts your spirits,” Martin said. “The nuns, of course, are Catholic, but it’s really a nondenominational comedy.”
Law said it’s a great show for some laughs.
“I think it’s very, very funny. It’s just a hilarious show,” he said. “The music is catchy. Every single character is different and it’s so much fun to play.”