For those who have yet to see "Nunsense," BIG ARTS' Artistic Director Bobby Logue describes it as hilarious.
"The show is very, very alive in the sense that the energy is palpable on stage. It's a really, really fun show. It's one of those rare plays where there's no fourth wall. In this show, the audience is just as big as a character as any of the ladies that are on the stage," Logue said.
The play, which was written by Dan Goggin, is centered around five nuns: Sister Mary Hubert (Debra Thais Evans), Sister Mary Leo (Lisa Bark), Sister Mary Amnesia (Gina Milo), Mother Superior (Kelly Legarreta ) and Sister Robert Anne (Samantha Rotella) who are tasked with raising money at a school talent show to help bury their covent sisters who died of botulism after eating poisoned soup.
The cast of “Nunsense.”
"They only had enough money to bury 48 nuns, but there's 52 nuns. So, there's four in the freezer and they have to raise enough money to bury them," he said.
Logue said that this isn't the first time the play has appeared at BIG ARTS. Legarreta, who plays Mother Superior said that 16 years ago, Victor Legarreta, who is also the director proposed to her on stage.
"It was almost around the same time-frame, too. He conveniently had the show taped that night. I remember thinking when we were taking our bows, 'I know we're sold-out, but there's so many people in the theater.' Everyone we knew on the island filled into the theater. I remember being really bewildered and Carol pulled me back on stage and then Victor came out dressed like a priest and then he asked everyone to sit down and began telling the story of how we met," Legarreta said.
Besides appearing at BIG ARTS, the show has ran on Off Broadway for 10 years.
"In addition to that, it's a total franchise. There's eight different versions," Logue said. "I think the reason why it's been so successful is because of the unique blend of the different characters and also the interactive nature of the show."
As the artistic director, Logue had the job of picking out different props and doing the casting for the show.
"All I can say is, I was so lucky when each one of these girls said yes to the show," Logue said. "It takes an army to do what we do here."
Although the production and the design of the show began months ahead, the actors had only 10 days to know all their lines and learn 13 different songs.
Two of the actors are brand new performers at Strauss. Evans, who plays Sister Mary Hubert, saw Logue perform at Broadway Palm three years ago and instantly knew she wanted to work with him.
"He was killing it on stage. Someone later told me that he's the artistic director at BIG ARTS. Ever since I saw him I kept thinking 'I've got to work for Bobby.' And now, I work for him. He's amazing. He floored me, he was like the old-time Danny Kaye. I still get goosebumps remembering how fabulous that show was," Evans said.
Logue said that one of the aspects that has made show work so well is the undeniable bond the girls formed during rehearsal and the honesty the nuns share with the audience from the very beginning of the show.
"When these girls take charge of the stage there's not one minute where you don't believe them that they're telling you the truth of what their character is and what they're about to do and perform for the audience and that helps because the audience gives them upfront trust then they invest in the story that each of these characters is telling them. It's the love and the team work on that stage that the honesty just smacks everyone in the face. These girls have them hook, line and sinker. It's a theater magic thing that you can only hope will happen with each cast," Logue said.
"Nunsense," which runs until April 15, has nightly performances Monday through Saturday beginning at 7:30 p.m. at BIG ARTS Strauss Theater located at 2200 Periwinkle Way. Beginning the first week of April, the show will run Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday, April 5 there will be a matinee show at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $42 for adults. For more information, go to bigarts.org or call (239) 395-0900.