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Theater Info for Maryland

Toby’s Dinner Theatre Nunsense

By • Jun 12th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Nunsense
Toby’s Dinner Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Baltimore, MD
Through July 14th
2:30 with intermission
$52-$57/$38 Children
Reviewed June 8th, 2013

Nunsense is exactly what it sounds like: the juxtaposition of nonsense and nuns. When Sister Julia (Child of God) accidentally poisoned and killed 52 nuns from The Order of the Little Sisters of Dundalk, they raised money to bury them. However, since Sister Mary Regina, the Reverend Mother, first bought a blu-ray player, four nuns remain unburied and waiting in the freezer. To raise the remaining funds, Mary Regina is now leading a troupe of five nuns in putting on a fundraiser of singing, dancing, and even some habit humor. This is a silly, fun script that continually breaks the fourth wall, and Toby’s does not disappoint in providing a mindless and enjoyable evening. The production is not perfect, but it is quite enjoyable.

The set, which is actually supposed to be the set for Grease, is perfect with several movable and versatile parts that lend themselves well to this show. The costumes are excellent as well. Beyond the habits, there are several add-on costume pieces that enhance the show throughout. The lighting is good for the most part, although there are a few times that one of the actresses inadvertently ended up in the darkness. Of course, in this show it could be just the work of Sister Myopia, still not quite getting running the lighting correct. The real technical misstep was with the sound in this production. All five women have powerful voices, and, with all of them singing and the microphones as loud as they were, there were times when the sound was uncomfortably overpowering. There were also a few issues with feedback throughout.

The cast was led by Sister Mary Regina (Jane C. Boyle). Boyle has a strong stage presence and a solid voice. She was consistent throughout the production, but she really sparkled and invoked laughing out loud at the very end of Act One. It was a perfectly executed comedic bit. As Sister Mary Hubert, Jesaira Glover is also strong and consistent. The two women have nice chemistry and banter. Glover really brings it home with her vocals at the end of the show and her toe-tapping rendition of “Holier Than Thou.”

As Sister Mary Amnesia, Elizabeth Rayca stays completely and consistently in character. At every glance, she has the same blank look on her face. She is joyful and sweet throughout. She does ditzy without trying to hard. Her voice is beautiful, and she invokes real emotion during “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville.”

However, there is one performance that blows the other women away. In the role of Sister Robert Anne, Heather Marie Beck is at her finest. She becomes the tomboy nun from the Bronx in every facial expression, movement, and mannerism. She is hysterically funny throughout the show. It is her “Growing Up Catholic,” though, that is the most incredible moment in the show. She reaches into the depth of emotion and wears it on her sleeve and projects it through beautiful vocals. It was a perfect moment.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sister Mary Leo (Celia Blitzer) is the weakest of the nuns. While it was a decent choice to play the comedy of her being plus-sized and trying her hand at dancing, that was not the only number in which Blitzer became obviously winded while trying to sing and dance. While she occasionally had a good physical comedic moment throughout the show, her Mary Leo was mostly just forgettable.

This is still a definite production to see. Boyle, Glover, and Rayca are stronger. The script is funny. The direction and added bits are delightful. Above all else, Heather Marie Beck as Sister Robert Anne is not to be missed. That alone is reason enough for going.

Photo Gallery

Jane Boyle, Celia Blitzer, Jesaira Glover, Heather Beck, Elizabeth Rayca Heather Beck
Jane Boyle, Celia Blitzer, Jesaira Glover, Heather Beck, Elizabeth Rayca
Heather Beck
Elizabeth Rayca Elizabeth Rayca, Jesaira Glover, Jane Boyle, Heather Beck, Celia Blitzer
Elizabeth Rayca
Elizabeth Rayca, Jesaira Glover, Jane Boyle, Heather Beck, Celia Blitzer
Beth, Celia Blitzer, Jane Boyle, Heather Beck, Jesaira Glover Jane Boyle
Beth, Celia Blitzer, Jane Boyle, Heather Beck, Jesaira Glover
Jane Boyle

Photos by Kirstine Christiansen

Cast

  • Sister Mary Regina (Reverend Mother): Jane C. Boyle
  • Sister Mary Hubert: Jesaira Glover
  • Sister Robert Anne: Heather Marie Beck
  • Sister Mary Amnesia: Elizabeth Rayca
  • Sister Mary Leo: Celia Blitzer
  • Understudy (Sister Robert Anne, Sister Amnesia, Sister Leo): Maura Hogan
  • Understudy (Reverend Mother, Sister Hubert): Celia Blitzer

Production Staff

  • Director/Choreographer: Mark Minnick
  • Musical Director: Pamela Wilt
  • Orchestrations/Vocal Coach: Ross Scott Rawlings
  • Scenic & Lighting Designer: David A. Hopkins
  • Costume Designer: Celia Blitzer
  • Sound Designer/Operator: Steve Knapp
  • Production Manager: Vickie S. Johnson
  • Production Stage Manager: Heather Williams
  • Master Carpenter: David A. Hopkins
  • Set Construction: David A. Hopkins, Russell Sunday, Ian Wallace
  • Properties: Amy Kaplan
  • Stage Manager: Heather Williams
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Ian Wallace
  • Light Board Operators: Heather Williams, Jeremy Garnes
  • Crew: Ian Wallace, Jeremy Games, Jason Sowers

Orchestra

  • Piano/Conductor: Pamela Wilt or Reenie Codelka
  • Reeds: Steve Haaser, Brian Butler, or Charlene McDaniel
  • Keyboards 2: Ed Myers, Barry Hamilton, or Nate Scavila
  • Drums: Aaron Holmes, Jack Loersher, or N. Scott Robinson

Disclaimer: Toby’s Dinner Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.

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