The Hippo


Jun 26, 2019








Jocelyn Duford as Sister Hubert, Michele Bossie as Sister Robert Ann and Betty Fortin as Mother Superior. Courtesy photo.


Where: Derry Opera House, 29 W. Broadway, Derry
When: Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $20, $15 for seniors, $12 for youth
Contact:, 669-7469

The nuns are back
Majestic presents Nuncrackers this weekend

By Kelly Sennott

 To date, the Majestic Theatre has produced every Nunsense show Dan Goggin ever wrote — which is kind of saying something, since he wrote seven. Artistic Director Rob Dionne thought audiences would be tired of the nuns by now. 

“We did a survey last year to our patrons saying, ‘We’re bringing back a Christmas show. What do you want to see?’” Dionne said during rehearsals last week. “The people voted, and they wanted us to do Nuncrackers again. … So we’ve brought the show back, by popular demand.”
The company presents Nuncrackers at the Derry Opera House this weekend, starring Dionne as Father Virgil and a cast of Majestic Nunsense alumni. Of the cast, only Dionne returns from the 2010 production of Nuncrackers.
“This one’s fun because I get to be silly and crazy, and I get to work with really talented people,” Dionne said. “So for me, it’s nice. With everything going on in the world right now, it’s nice to have that outlet, to be able to go out there and just kind of play.”
Goggin wrote the original Nunsense in 1985, which became an off-Broadway hit, running for 3,672 performances. It follows five nuns, the Little Sisters of Hoboken, who learn their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the other 52 residents of the convent with her tainted vichyssoise. To raise money for the funerals, Mother Superior creates a variety show for the nuns to perform in.
Nuncrackers is the third in the series, and it presents a behind-the-scenes look at a holiday television special taped by the sisters in their convent basement studio, where they’re to perform a rendition of The Nutcracker. Sister Mary Leo, who’s always wanted to be a ballerina, choreographs the show — but when she becomes injured, the Rev. Mother and Father Virgil battle it out for the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, tutus and all.
Regular Majestic audiences will recognize Nuncrackers cast members; it’s the seventh time audiences will see Becky Rush as Sister Amnesia (named because she lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head) and the sixth they’ll see Betty Fortin as Mother Superior. Other nun actresses include Michele Bossie as Sister Robert Ann, Jocelyn Duford as Sister Hubert and Anna Proulx as Sister Mary Leo.
Unlike most of the Nunsense musicals, Nuncrackers features kids — “four of Mount Saint Helen’s most talented students” — played by Theo Boyd, Meghan Dolley, Kelsey Sweet and Gavin Osgood. 
Songs include “Twelve Days Prior to Christmas,” “Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Our House,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are Us” and “It’s Better to Give than to Receive.” One features lines from some of the most famous Christmas carols — except they’ve been altered, thanks to Sister Amnesia’s bad memory.
“I’ve taught them all the wrong words!” Rush said.
Nuncrackers requires lots of dancing, which is hard for Rush because, at the time of her interview, she had to rehearse in a cast and wheelchair due to an injury, and Director Carole Neveux adjusted choreography accordingly. The alternative was to miss a Majestic Nunsense show; past productions have garnered praise from Goggin himself. 
The playwright visited Manchester a few years ago to see the Majestic’s Nunset Boulevard and played an advising role in its 2014 take of Nunsense: The Mega-Musical. His visit, they said, was nerve-wracking but gratifying at the same time. 
“He was so complimentary about what we did with his words, his music and his show,” said Keith Belanger, the show’s music director. 

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu