Miami Herald - 10/12/02



Writer-director Dan Goggin hit upon the artistic equivalent of a church Collection plate when he came up with the idea for Nunsense 20 years ago.

The show and its four spinoffs have already pulled in more than $300 million worldwide. Even the Vatican would be impressed.

Reasoning that imitation is the sincerest (and most lucrative) form of flattery - even if the artist you're imitating is yourself - Goggin has come up with a new gig for the Little Sisters of Hoboken: Meshuggah-Nuns! now at the Hollywood Playhouse.

The set-up this time is that the gals, who have added “showbiz” to their vows poverty, chastity and obedience, are on a world cruise. the cast of the cruise act Fiddler on the Roof, gets conviently seasick. Only the actor playing Tevye still has his sea legs and a cooperative stomach, so he recruits the spotlight-seasoned nuns to put on an alternate variety show. Lucky for them that their cook Sister Julia, Child of God-mixed Dramamine into their bon voyage brownies. The show that follows is a sweet-natured celebration of Catholic and Jewish traditions. It’s a crowd pleaser… You sing, you dance, you tell a few jokes, they’re happy.

The Goggin-directed cast works very, very hard… with sheer professional aplomb.

Star Ave Hoffman, playing the actor who gets to play Tevye, uses every weapon in his well stocked arsenal of talents to charm the audience. He jokes with the verve of a Borscht Belt veteran, sings beautifully on the tender duet, A Love Like This… Every Word of Yiddish he utters elicits a sea of smiles.

Sheila Allen is an engaging, rock-solid presence as the Reverend Mother, Laura Anne Hodos plays the sparky, streetwise Sister Robert Anne; Sharon E. Scott the ambitious Sister Hubert; Stacy Schwartz the still-ditzy Sister Amnesia… When the zaftig Scott’s Sister Hubert appears early in the show, you can’t help thinking, “Oh, here is a black performer with a powerful voice. I wonder what time she’ll sing a roof-raising gospel number?’ Around 9:50p.m.