Let there be spotlight

Sisters of Hoboken bring more laughs in May River Theatre's 'Nunset Boulevard'

August 19, 2011 

From left, Barbara Clark, Desiree Duff, Kelley Alcorn and Cara Clanton star in the May River Theatre's production of 'Nunset Boulevard.'

JAY KARR — File/The Island Packet

  • The May River Theatre will present "Nunset Boulevard" in August. The musical tells the story of how Sister Mary Regina thinks she's taking the Little Sisters of Hoboken to The Hollywood Bowl but ends up at the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama and Caberet Lounge.

    Performances are at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in Bluffton Town Hall's Ulmer auditorium at the corner of Bridge and Pritchard streets in old town Bluffton. Tickets are $20.

    Details: www.mayrivertheatre.com, 843-837-7798

There is a scene in the first act of "Nunset Boulevard," the musical comedy over at the May River Theatre, that had me laughing out loud. And I can tell you I was joined by the rest of the audience in moments.

Picture this, the Sisters of Hoboken were all reassembled on the stage, habits and wimples in place, and the action had begun, when we hear the distinctive opening notes to "Jesus Christ, Superstar." Can you imagine a more perfect ringtone? What fun! And that's the way it was through the entire show -- good humor, lots of implications, perfect double entendres.

That moment was very much a kind of a bellwether for the two hour production that followed. "Nunset Boulevard" -- written by Dan Goggin and directed by Christine Grefe with musical direction from Kristofer Tokarski and Adam Rich and produced by Ed Dupuis -- is filled with giant good will, funny circumstances and a gazillion one-liners. There are laugh-inducing lyrics everywhere. The show is absolutely propelled by the spot-on cast -- Kelly Alcorn, Cara Clanton, Barbara Clark, Desiree Duff and Jean White. They sing, act and move so impressively, and they all share a particular comedic facility that contributed so effectively to this performance.

This nun's story, is a little "plotless" ... on purpose. It's addressed early on in the first act when the Rev. Mother (Barbara Clark) and Sister Hubert (Kelly Alcorn), joined by the rest of the sisters, point that out during the opening moments in "The Plot." And for what it's worth, nobody really cares. Again, the story is a light touch -- a whimsical, even fluffy event. It is mainly about the cast and their performances.

Actually, there is a story line, though. In this version, the seventh in the "Nunsense" series, the Little Sisters of Hoboken have accepted an invitation to perform in the Hollywood Bowl, which they happily accept. Unfortunately, there was some kind of disconnect, and this Hollywood Bowl performance, is in fact, scheduled for The Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama -- a full-on bowling alley with its cabaret lounge. Close, but no cigar.

The sisters sally forth and decide to give it their best. The plot thickens when they find that auditions for a part in a real Hollywood movie, are being held just across the street. And, most importantly, the part is for a nun! Each sister, a bit starstruck and for her own reason, was set upon going to the audition. Watch out for "The Flickers," in the second act, with Sisters Robert Anne and Hubert.

Through the course of the evening, the sisters face a number of landmark decisions. They also learn what is important to them and continued respect for each other. And when we all left the theater, with songs in our hearts and on our lips, we realized that we had been served the most amazing treat, all kind of light and sweet.

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