Nunsense Opens Fall Season
at Peninsula Players Sept. 9 – Oct. 18
Cast includes recording artists and a Rockette!
Ashley Lanyon, Christine Mild, Liz Pazik, Cassie Slater and Stephanie Wahl.
Fish Creek, Wisconsin – Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, continues its 80th season with the hilarious musical comedy “Nunsense,” with book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggin. The lighthearted musical has a six-week run starting Sept. 9 through Oct. 18. “Nunsense” received the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, Best Music and Best Off-Broadway Musical.
The zany Little Sisters of Hoboken are kicking up their heels and lifting their voices! Join Reverend Mother, a former circus performer itching to reclaim the spotlight, and her four sisters as they stage a riotous variety show filled with comic misadventures that are sure to be habit-forming! The fictional Sisters host a fundraiser after they discover their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidently poisoned 52 of the sisters. To help cover the burial costs, the surviving sisters take over the 8th grader’s stage production of “Grease” and host a lively variety show filled with a huge dose of humor and more than 25 original songs.
Meet the jovial Reverend Mother and her sisters including a streetwise nun from Brooklyn named Sister Robert Anne; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who has dreams of becoming a ballerina; and the charmingly wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head.
Goggin named the characters in honor of nuns he holds in high regard from his school days and for whom he maintains an affection. Since its debut, “Nunsense” has delighted audiences with more than 5,000 productions worldwide and has been translated into 21 languages. The Little Sisters of Hoboken entertain with energetic song and dance numbers, including ballet, tap dancing and comic surprises.
The cast of “Nunsense” includes a mix of Players veterans and newcomers including Ashley Lanyon, who made her Players debut in “Lend Me A Tenor;” Christine Mild who returns after a successful run as Patsy in last fall’s production of “Always…Patsy Cline;” Liz Pazik, who played Sister Amnesia in the 1987 Players production of “Nunsense;” Cassie Slater returns after a successful run as Dot in the Players production of “Sunday in the Park with George;” and making her Players debut is Stephanie Wahl. Both Wahl and Mild are on the official cast recording of the “30th Anniversary Cast Recording of Nunsense.”
“Each of these actresses is a powerhouse,” said director Karen Sheridan. “The cast was assembled with great care and consideration. They count national tours, original cast recordings, the Rockettes, and previous Nun(sense) stints amongst them. Players’ patrons might recognize some members of the cast from recent productions. Their voices found an instant blend in rehearsals. They are as angelic as they are comedic, resulting in five sweet and wonderfully fun sisters. Every one of them is going to be an audience favorite.”
Sheridan returns for her 10th season with the Players to direct the merriment of “Nunsense.” Her directing credits at the Players include “Heroes,” “Is He Dead?,” “Rumors,” “Fools” and “The Fantasticks,” as well as performing in “Dancing at Lughnasa,” “Into the Woods,” “Tons of Money,” “Nunsense II,” among others. Sheridan recently performed in the Detroit, Michigan area in productions of “Boeing, Boeing” and “Other Desert Cities.”
Lanyon (Sister Mary Leo) made her Peninsula Players debut earlier this season as Maggie in Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me A Tenor.” After earning a BFA degree in musical theater from The Boston Conservatory, she moved to New York City where her credits include “South Pacific” (Westchester Broadway Theatre), “Le Cabaret Grimm” (The New York Musical Theater Festival) and “Our Town” (Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn).
Mild (Sister Robert Anne) returns to the Players after a successful run last fall as Patsy in “Always…Patsy Cline.” She recently completed a pre-Broadway run of “Beaches” at Drury Lane Oakbrook, which hopes to transfer to New York City in 2016. She has played Sister Robert Anne all over the country in “Nunsense,” “Nunset Boulevard” (National Tour starring Cindy Williams) and “Sister Robert Anne’s Cabaret Class” (Red Barn Key West, Aventura Arts, Society Hill Playhouse, Meadow Brook Theatre). She is also the voice of Sr. Robert Anne on the official “30th Anniversary Cast Recording of Nunsense.”
Pazik (Reverend Mother) created the role of Mrs. Fezziwig for the national tour of “Scrooge! The Musical” starring Richard Chamberlain. Her Chicago credits include Eulalie McKechnie Shinn in Paramount Theatre’s production of “The Music Man;” Miss Tweed in “Something’s Afoot!” (a Jeff Award-nominated performance); “Crazy” Aunt Harriet in Drury Lane Theatre’s production of “The Man Who Came To Dinner;” and the Wicked Witch of the West in Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Slater (Sister Hubert, Mistress of Novices) returns for her fifth season with Peninsula Players where her credits include Dot in “Sunday in the Park with George,” Sally in “Cabaret,” Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” and Petra in “A Little Night Music.” Her regional credits include Mary in “Merrily We Roll Along” (Jeff Award; best actress in a musical), “First Date” at Royal George Theatre and Thea in “Fiorello” with Timeline Theatre. After winning the New York Musical Festival’s Next Broadway Sensation Competition, her solo show, “Chimera,” debuted at Joe’s Pub in the winter of 2009.
Wahl (Sister Mary Amnesia) makes her Players debut with “Nunsense.” Her Off-Broadway credits include Sr. Leo in “Nunsense, The 25th Anniversary” and her regional credits include Diana in “Next To Normal,” Bess in “A Woman of Independent Means,” Annabella/Pamela/Margaretin in “The 39 Steps,” Abigail Adams in “1776,” Judith in “Boeing, Boeing,” Lina Lamont in “Singin’ in the Rain,” Favorite in “Will Rogers Follies” and Laurey in “Oklahoma!” Wahl is a former member of the world-famous Radio City Rockettes and the voice of Sr. Mary Leo on the official “30th Anniversary Cast Recording of Nunsense.”
Matt Super (“Dial M for Murder”) is cast as the Sisters’ stage manager and is participating in the Peninsula Players internship program. He is recent graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio.
Working alongside Sheridan and the cast in rehearsals are Players veterans, choreographer Gregory A. Patterson and music director Valerie Maze.
Patterson (“The Fantasticks”) returns to choreograph the numerous energetic dance numbers the Sisters perform. Patterson has been dancing and choreographing professionally in the Midwest for 30 years. He is the recipient of Michigan Dance Council’s Maggie Allesse Choreography Award performed as guest artist with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
Maze (“A Day in Hollywood/Night in the Ukraine,” “A Little Night Music” and “Cabaret”) returns as music director of “Nunsense.” Maze conducted Goodman Theatre’s production of “Brigadoon” and was assistant conductor for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s productions of “Carousel,” “Oklahoma,” “The Sound of Music” and “Showboat.”
The Little Sisters of Hoboken will be backed up by a band comprised of keyboardist Maze with Andy Anderson (“Into the Woods” and “Cabaret”) on trumpet; Pamela Johnson (“Into the Woods,” “A Little Night Music”) on alto sax, flute and alto flute; Kimberly Souther (“A Little Night Music”) on keyboards; Paul Sowinski (“Pump Boys and Dinettes,” “The Taffetas,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Forever Plaid”) on bass and Bruce Newbern (“A Little Night Music,” “Always…Patsy Cline”) on percussion.
Anderson is a native of Door County who spent years playing around the world with the UW Badger Band and the Army Band, playing for multiple presidential engagements and the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Johnson is the flutist and piccolist for the Newtonburg Brass Band, a recreation of a 1910 town band. She is a graduate of Purdue University and earned her MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Newbern plays accordion, guitar and/or banjo as one of the Gazebo Guys and plays in the pit band for Northern Sky Theatre. He directs a contemporary music group at Bay View Lutheran Church and teaches general music at St. John Bosco School in Sturgeon Bay.
Sowinski has a vast background in music from Dixieland to playing bass for the R & B band Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns. He was the founding string instructor for the Peninsula Youth String Orchestra through the Peninsula Music Festival.
Souther is a professional pianist and cellist who recently collaborated with YoYo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble at the inaugural Global Musicians workshop. She performs with the Fox Valley Symphony, Manitowoc Symphony and Vic Ferrari Symphony on the Rocks series.
The design team for “Nunsense” includes award-winning scenic designer J Branson (“Always…Patsy Cline”) whose national tour credits include “The Music Man” and “Beauty and the Beast” as well as the Midwest premieres of “Hairspray,” “Legally Blonde” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Making his Players debut is costume designer Kyle Pingel, choreographed the on-stage quick wig changes for Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of “Marie Antoinette” and served as costume coordinator for the “Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet.” Properties designer Jesse Gaffney (“Miracle on South Division Street,” “Butler,” “Outside Mullingar”) has worked with various Chicago theaters including Theater Wit, Lifeline Theatre, Victory Gardens and DePaul University. Sound designer Barry G. Funderburg (“Heroes”) is the recipient of two Jeff Awards, a St. Louis Theater Circle Award and has design credits with Utah Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and many more.
“Nunsense” is sponsored by Ken Raupach with support from the Cordon Family Foundation.
Peninsula Players’ setting along the shores of Green Bay provides a serene location for patrons. Prior to performances, patrons relax and picnic on the grounds while watching the setting sun over the waters of Green Bay from the cedar-lined shore and enjoy the ambience of the Beer Garden and other gardens.
Peninsula Players performs Tuesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m., except for Sundays, September 20, 27 and October 18 at 4 p.m. A post-show discussion is scheduled Saturday, September 19. Individual tickets to “Nunsense” range from $39 to $45 and group rates are available for groups of 15 or more. There are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players’ box office at (920) 868-3287 or visit the website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.