(February 3, 2007)

It’s Not Easy to Kick These Habits

Peter D. Kramer/The Journal News

Bless me, father, for I have grinned.

I also chuckled, snorted and, at times, laughed out loud.

But the nuns made me do it, father: Those toe-tapping Little Sisters of Hoboken, now on stage at Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford. The show is called "Nunsensations - The Nunsense Vegas Revue" and it runs through March 3.

These sisters sing, they dance, they tell incredibly corny jokes which - you'll remember, father - I have a weakness for.

I'll confess, I had my doubts.

Dan Goggin has written five "Nunsense!" shows since 1983, six if you count "Nunsense: A-men!" which was basically the original show with men playing the sisters. So this is the sixth - or seventh - installment and I wondered if the whole idea had played out.

I was wrong - and right. The first act moves along briskly, as the nuns set up shop in the Pump Room Lounge, high atop the third floor of the Mystique Motor Lodge in Las Vegas. A Hoboken parishioner has promised to give $10,000 to their school if the sisters will perform in a friend's Vegas showroom.

And, Lord help me, father, I still find it funny to watch nuns dancing and singing. I might be in the minority, there.

But the second act starts limply with a ballad "I Left Him There," followed by a regrettable "Sin City Sue" number that was even too silly for these silly sisters. Maybe we can call those two songs a couple of bad habits.

The playwright directs the show, father, which is usually a really bad idea, but Goggin has an ace up his sleeve - actually five of them: Bonnie Lee as the stern Rev. Mother Mary Regina, Bambi Jones as the rock-solid right hand Sister Mary Hubert, Carolyn Droscoski as the streetwise, show-tune-belting Sister Robert Anne, Jeanne Tinker as the simple, sincere Sister Mary Paul (Amnesia), who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head and Carrie Keskinen as the dancing-fool-for-the-Lord Sister Mary Leo.

It's the same cast that was on hand at the "Nunsensations" world premiere in Minneapolis two years ago. They have been touring off and on and will continue on to Michigan and San Francisco after they play Elmsford. They are in fine form, father.

Even with the dinner theater's half-hour intermission, the show let out at 10:15, a brisk evening, but one that could easily have been 15 minutes shorter and none the worse for it.

"Nunsensations" is a fun night out. It isn't perfect theater.

But nobody's perfect, father.

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