Arts & Entertainment

Joyful, Energetic ‘Nunsense II’ Hits Heights at Bickford

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MORRISTOWN, NJ – “Nunsense II,” (the second coming) is sure to captivate audiences at The Bickford Theatre, if opening night was any indication.
 
Last summer, The Bickford put on the original “Nunsense” by Dan Goggin. Artistic Director Eric Hafen notes that it won the Outer Critics Circle award in 1986 for best musical,  best book and best music. Usually sequels don’t work that well, but since this is mostly fluff anyway, it really doesn’t matter.
 
 
The secret is the strong, talented cast, obviously having fun along the way. Gwendolyn F. Jones is perfectly cast as Rev. Mother, presumably running the show while her bevy of nuns take off in their own directions. We have Amanda Yachecak as Sister Mary Leo. She sees herself as a ballerina…on roller skates, no less.  Kristen Michelle’s Sister Mary Amnesia not only conducts a bingo game with the audience, but does a terrific job as a ventriloquist with her sidekick puppet. Katie Mott as Sister Robert Anne can belt out any number in real show-biz style. “I’ve Got Pizzazz” contrasts nicely with “Angeline.”
 
Geraldine Leer is Sister Mary Hubert, second in command. She and Jones spar effectively throughout. They’re especially entertaining with “What Would Elvis Do.”

 
All the songs are catchy and fun. Props, along with the nuns’ habits, add plenty of appeal, whether it’s Cancan skirts or cowboy hats. The nuns pull out all the stops with “The Hat and Cane Song’ and, of course, the finale, “There’s Only One Way to End Your Prayers.”
 
In many ways, this is a completely corny show, with a lot of common denominators that are just plain silly. Still, the lyrics are often inventive and the harmless poking fun at religious rituals doesn’t hurt anyone.  The music director is Wayne Mallette and choreographer is Laurie Piro.
 
“Nunsense II” is a delightful way to spend a summer evening or afternoon. Performances continue through June 23. For tickets, call (973) 971-3706 or visit morrismuseum.org. The theater is located at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown.
 
Other summer offerings are “West Side Story,” July 18-28 in conjunction with Centenary Stage and a sing-along version of “Grease” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, outdoors at the museum.  The Bickford’s Jazz Showcase is scheduled for Monday nights from June 10 through Aug. 27.
 
The theatre’s  2013-14 lineup includes “The Last Romance,” “Knight’s Gambit,” based on Sherlock Holmes, “Say Goodnight Gracie” with Rupert Holmes and  “Forever Plaid.”

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