DAG’s ‘Nunsense’ blesses the stage with music and laughter

Photo by Sue Suchyta The Downriver Actors Guild presents the musical comedy “Nunsense,” with Pamela Gunderson (left), of Muskegon as the Mistress of Novices, Sister Mary Hubert; Ashley Gatesy of Westland as Sister Robert Anne; Jema McCardell of Trenton as Mother Superior, Sister Regina; Sydney Bramlett of Canton Township as Sister Leo; and Jaclyn Duvall of Dearborn as Sister Mary Amnesia. The show runs Sept. 7 to 16 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle Avenue, Wyandotte. For Tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

Photo by Sue Suchyta
The Downriver Actors Guild presents the musical comedy “Nunsense,” with Pamela Gunderson (left), of Muskegon as the Mistress of Novices, Sister Mary Hubert; Ashley Gatesy of Westland as Sister Robert Anne; Jema McCardell of Trenton as Mother Superior, Sister Regina; Sydney Bramlett of Canton Township as Sister Leo; and Jaclyn Duvall of Dearborn as Sister Mary Amnesia. The show runs Sept. 7 to 16 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle Avenue, Wyandotte. For Tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

Theater entertains, inspires and sometimes supports causes. Ed Asner, known for his role as Lou Grant, comes to town Sept. 22 for a one-man show that entertains while it informs about prostate health screening.

“Random Acts of Theatre” offers entertainment while raising scholarship funds, and Downriver’s “Nunsense” blesses its audiences with heartfelt laughter.

DAG MUSICAL COMEDY ‘NUNSENSE’ IS HABIT FORMING

When most of the Little Sisters of Hoboken are accidentally poisoned by their cook, Sister Julia Child of God, the remaining nuns in Dan Goggin’s “Nunsense” decide to put on a show to raise the burial money for the four sisters still stored in the kitchen’s freezer.

The Downriver Actors Guild production runs 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7, 8, 14 and 15, and 3 p.m. Sept. 9 and 16 at the Catherine A. Daly Theater on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle, Wyandotte.

Each surviving sister brings endearing humor to their role, providing comedy that doesn’t require a Catholic background to appreciate.

Michele Devins of Southgate directs the show, with assistant direction by Brian Welch of Dearborn, choreography by Jessalyn Sturm of Taylor and vocal director by Amanda Aue of Wyandotte.

The cast includes Pamela Gunderson of Muskegon as the Mistress of Novices, Sister Mary Hubert; Ashley Gatesy of Westland as Sister Robert Anne; Jema McCardell of Trenton as Mother Superior, Sister Regina; Sydney Bramlett of Canton Township as Sister Leo; and Jaclyn Duvall of Dearborn as Sister Mary Amnesia.

Devins said she wanted to direct the show because she was in it several years ago with the Southgate Community Players.

“It’s a great show, and a lot of fun,” she said. “It really hits home with a lot of Catholics.”

Devins said some of the humor has been updated in the show, which was written more than three decades ago.
“I think the audience will love what they see because it’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a lot of laughs and a lot of touching things,” she said. “The girls are very talented.”

Devins quips that “Nunsense” is “habit-forming.”

“When I went to Catholic school, the priests drank beer at bingo,” she said. “There is nothing in this show that anybody would find offensive.
“It will resonate more with the older audiences, but there is something in it for everyone. It’s a very fun show. I think audiences will really enjoy it.”
McCardell said her character, the Reverend Mother, is the glue that holds everyone together.

“She can be a bit bossy and stern, but she mothers all the sisters and loves them dearly,” she said. “If you have a Catholic background, there’s an added level of humor, but it truly is a show for everyone, and not sacrilegious in any way.”
Duvall said her character, Sister Mary Amnesia, is fun to play because of her childlike innocence.
“She lost her memory the day she entered the convent when a cross fell and hit her head,” she said. “You can’t help but fall in love with and laugh with her.”
Duvall said her role requires two contrasting solos, an audience participation quiz and ventriloquism.
“It is funny, and the sisters have great energy together,” she said. “It’s interactive, entertaining and a great night out, so come have fun with us.”

Gunderson said her character, Sister Hubert, the Mistress of Novices, is Mom-like and sassy.

“She can sing and dance and would like to be in charge, but she understands that Reverend Mother is the boss, and stays in her lane,” she said. “It’s a fun production, with a talented cast, and we get to tap dance.”

Gatesy said her character, Sister Robert Anne, is the understudy for the sisters’ show.

“She spends the majority of the show trying to prove that she’s talented and funny enough to deserve a leading role and her chance to shine,” she said.
Gatesy said “Nunsense” is light-hearted.
We’re dressed as nuns, but the show doesn’t try to force you into a religion, and you don’t need to be a Catholic to enjoy it,” she said. “My parents actually saw this show on one of their first dates, and I feel like being part of this show brings things full circle for them.”
Bramlett said she shares traits in common with her character, Sister Leo.
“We are both dancers and want to be famous,” she said. “Being the youngest in the cast, I can relate to Sister Leo, since she is the novice and the youngest there.”
Bramlett said being cast in the show was a gift.

“Not only am I having a blast, I gained four new sisters,” she said. “The other sisters and I have gotten so close because of this show.”
Tickets are $18, with a $2 discount for students and seniors. To order, or for more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

DATA PRESENTS 6th ANNUAL ‘RANDOM ACTS OF THEATRE’ FUNDRAISER

An evening of short plays and Broadway show tunes, “Random Acts of Theatre,” now in its sixth year, will help replenish the Dearborn Area Theatre Association’s scholarship fund.

The show runs 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 and 8 in Studio A at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn.

Scholarships are awarded to Dearborn and Dearborn Heights high school seniors who have been active in high school or community theater and successfully complete the application and audition process.

The show features local playwright Collette Cullen’s one-act play, “Dressed,” performed by Christine Steves.
Local author Angela King’s one-act play, “The Whore of Shomron, A Love Story,” directed by Casaundra Freeman, will be performed by Arabia Little and Carol Towns.
Two scenes from Frank Higgin’s provocative play “Gunplay,” directed by Michael Cuba, are also on the playbill.
Stephanie Lynn Miller-Allen will sing “On My Own” from “Les Miserables” and “An Apathetic Man” from “Adventures in Love.”

Mary Charara will sing “Don’t Rain on my Parade” from “Funny Girl,” while Corey Quinn offers his unique version of “My Funny Valentine” from “Babes in Arms.”

Tickets are $12, and are available at the the COMPAC box office, and online at dearborn.theater.com. The show is not suitable for children.

ED ASNER IN ONE MAN COMEDY ‘A MAN AND HIS PROSTATE’

Ed Asner combines comedy and an important health warning in Ed Weinberger’s, “A Man and  his Prostate,” based on the author’s experience in Florence, Italy, where he had a challenging time explaining his prostate problems to medical staff for whom English was not a primary language.

The show runs one night only, 8 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Historic Players Club Playhouse, 3321 E. Jefferson in Detroit, and produced by Papa Weeze Productions of Farmington Hills.

Asner’s pantomime alone will leave the audience laughing, and while the show bawdy, it sheds light on an important health issue for men.

Remembered for his role as Lou Grant, Asner won seven Emmys, with 20 nominations. His career has taken him from the stage to television to the big screen.
Tickets are $60, with a $75 VIP package which includes a post-show meet and greet. To order tickets, go to papaweezeinc.com.