By CATHY MATHIAS
Catholic nuns dancing, singing and basically making fools of themselves all in the name of a good cause is a good description of the musical, “Nunsense II”, now playing at Surfside Playhouse in Cocoa Beach.
This is the sequel to the original musical “Nunsense” which was an international hit back in the mid-1980s and many famous comedians like Phyllis Diller and Sally Struthers performed during its long run Off-Broadway. With book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggin, “Nunsense II” takes off where the other show left off, with the Sisters of Hoboken, New Jersey at the Mount Saint Helen’s School presenting a variety show as a “thank you” to their supporters.
In this show, the nuns have to perform their acts in front of the set from “The Mikado.” Why? Because that’s the show playing next week in that same “gymnatorium” at Mount Saint Helen’s School. Kudos to Surfside for building a beautiful “Mikado” set for this show. Created by David Young, the Master Carpenter, along with workers Paulette Bethel, Jorge Corchado, David Forman, Ann Miller, Kevin Smith and Zack Underwood, the brilliant red woodwork evokes Chinese architectural elements. There are two lighted panels on either side of the set that feature lovely paintings of blossoms of red flowers.
This is the prettiest set I’ve ever seen at Surfside.Dorothy Wright plays Sister Mary Paul, who is referred to as Sister Amnesia after being hit on the head with a crucifix. Wright portrays a blissfully happy nun who sings a song with her puppet. Her high-pitched voice comes across as very funny and her comedic timing makes her Bingo bit come alive. (Be sure to bring a pencil to the show. Yes, you will play Bingo.)
Costumes made by Mario Davis, Eldona Mellen, Alison Shugars and Liza McCluney are believable, especially funny is the dangling cactus costume worn by Sister Mary Paul during her cowboy song. Sister Mary Leo, played by Miranda Kane, is a ballerina-wanna-be and yet she performs a song on roller skates. Sister Robert Anne is played by Liza McCluney. Sister Mary Hubert, portrayed by Tanyu Stevenson, is the voice of reason against Sister Mary Regina (Mother Superior) who is played by Sharyn Tsocanos.
The house band can be seen performing in Catholic garb in the back of the stage. It includes Mario Davis on synthesizer, Nate Becker on drums and Jennavon Brown on piano.
SIDE O’ GRITS: “Nunsense II” runs through Nov. 24 at Surfside Players, 301 Ramp St., Cocoa Beach, FL. $20 general, $18 seniors and active military, $15 students. Call 321-783-3127 or visit www.surfsideplayers.com.