Make us your home page
Instagram

'Nunsense A-Men' gives sisters a new twist

If you want to make a silly musical about nuns even sillier, there's a pretty easy way to do it. You have guys in drag play the nuns.

That's what playwright Dan Goggin did with his hit show Nunsense. The result is Nunsense A-Men, and it's the current offering from MAD Theatre.

"I think it was in 2000 that a company in Brazil came up with the idea of casting men," said Tony Gilkinson, who's directing the MAD production. "Dan Goggin found out about it and thought it was a good idea."

The original Nunsense premiered in 1985. It developed from a cabaret show and became a huge success: It's the second-longest-running off-Broadway show in history, behind only The Fantasticks.

Goggin has turned Nunsense into a franchise, turning out sequels and spinoffs. Nunsense A-Men uses almost exactly the same script as the original. But songs are in different keys (they're actually higher than in the original) and some of the jokes take on a different flavor when they're delivered by cross-dressing men.

Gilkinson offers one example of how the casting alters the humor. One of the nuns has a clock that has apostles. When one hand is on the Peter and one hand is on the John, she says, she knows it's time to get down on her knees and pray.

The plot has to do with nuns who put on a talent show to raise money. The reason they need money is that 52 members of their convent have recently died en masse of food poisoning. The surviving nuns ran out of money before they buried all the dead nuns.

There's lots of audience interaction, Gilkinson said, so no two shows are exactly the same.

In fact, the script itself has changed over the years. Goggin has continuously updated the script to incorporate ideas and lines that different companies and actors have improvised during performances.

"The original script was written on a typewriter, believe it or not," Gilkinson said. "Now there are parts that are Word documents."

Gilkinson directed MAD's recent popular and acclaimed version of Avenue Q. He has also performed in Nunsense A-Men along with Marcus Blake (who was part of the Avenue Q cast), D.J. Holt from MAD's production of Hairspray, Kevin Lara, who was in Bare for MAD, and company newcomer Rick Faurote. They're joined by a five-piece onstage band led by Mark Anthony Jenks.

>>if you go

Nunsense A-Men

Where: Shimberg Playhouse at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. The play runs through Feb. 17.

Cost: $20 plus service charge.

Information: Call (813) 229-7827 or starz.org.

'Nunsense A-Men' gives sisters a new twist 02/07/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 2:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 18: Despite feeling ill, this pilgrim passes the midpoint in her 500-mile journey on foot

    Travel

    Day 18: Lédigos to El Burgo Ranero: 34.3 km, 12.25 hours (Total for Days 1-18 = 428 km (266 miles)

    Today was a struggle.

  2. Actor John Heard dies at age 72

    Blogs

    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.

  3. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 17: Think 11 miles of nothing but straight trail and open, flat fields sounds easy? Think again.

    Travel

    Day 17: Villarmentero de Campos to Lédigos: 33.5 km, 10.25 hours. Total for Days 1-17 = 394 km (245 miles)

  4. Tom Sawyer with a revolver? Twain house has live 'Clue' game

    Attractions

    HARTFORD, Conn. — Was it Tom Sawyer in Samuel Clemens' billiard room with a revolver?

    In this July 14 photo, actor Dan Russell, left, portraying the character Arkansas from Mark Twain's book Roughing it, responds to a question from 10-year-old Emma Connell, center, of Arizona during a "Clue" tour at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn. The tour allows visitors to interact with Twain characters while playing a live-action version of the board game. [AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb]
  5. Until this song, Alan Parsons Project stood on much higher ground

    Blogs

    Listening to yesterday's Keats song made me pine for more Alan Parsons Project music and today we dig deeper into their catalogue with Standing On Higher Ground.