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‘Nunsense’ tells of sisters in a comic bind at Glendale Centre Theatre

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Playing the five sisters in the musical “Nunsense” at the Glendale Centre Theatre are Samantha Gordon (kneeling), Zoe Bright, Kate Ponzio, Kymberly Stewart (kneeling) and Jennifer Strattan.
(Courtesy of Dennis Stover)

Several plates of tainted vichyssoise, a vision of a business venture and the staging of a benefit show serve up an evening of songs and laughs in the musical “Nunsense,” playing through June 22 at the Glendale Centre Theatre.

Zoe Bright, who has directed shows such as “Godspell” and “Mary Poppins” at the local venue recently, is now on the other side of the table, portraying Mother Superior, who is dealing with the deaths of 52 members of her convent, called Little Sisters of Hoboken, after they eat the deadly culinary creation.

“[Performing is] very good for my brain, and a good work out for my body, too,” Bright said of performing on stage again.

Her performance history includes shows on London’s West End, and she’s slated to direct the musical “Annie” later this season at the Glendale Centre Theatre.

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Bright said Mother Superior is given a vision to start a greeting card company to generate revenue for the nuns’ burials. However, she thinks she has more money toward the end than she actually does and makes a fateful purchase — a Blu-ray TV.

In the original production years ago, Mother Superior bought a VCR and camcorder, but, obviously, times have changed.

“We manage to bury 48 of the 52 nuns,” Bright said, so the surviving sisters hold a benefit to raise funds to bury the final deceased nuns.

“The entire show is the benefit,” Bright said, with the performers interacting with the audience. The house lights coming up periodically as there are quizzes held and prizes are passed out.

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George Strattan and Steven Applegate work together again as director and musical director, respectively, having originally put on “Nunsense” 12 years ago at Glendale Centre Theatre.

At that point, “The Rainmaker” was the main show on the weekends, and “Nunsense” was presented during the week.

“This is the first time it’s on the schedule as a main stage show,” said Strattan, who is directing his 77th production at the local theater.

He said he enjoys “Nunsense” because “it’s fun, it’s kind of left field, it’s wacky. It’s got a lot of humor in it. And you don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate it. You can get a kick out of it anyway.”

Applegate has been the resident musical director at the Glendale Centre Theatre for more than 10 years, he said, and he’s been working at the theater for about 30 years.

“Several of those shows have been with George,” Applegate said.

For music lovers who enjoy variety, “Nunsense” has a wide selection, ranging from Vaudeville to country to pop, Applegate and Stratten pointed out.

Also, the new production features a live three-piece band, which is a little unusual for the Glendale theater, which often uses recorded orchestral tracks for many of its musical productions. However, one other production recently, “Always… Patsy Cline” also used live musicians.

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For more information about “Nunsense,” including performance dates and tickets, visit glendalecentretheatre.com or call (818) 244-8481.

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