Nuncrackers provides humor and cheer

Nuncrackers+provides+humor+and+cheer

Carol DeVelice, “Sister Mary Annette,” and Beth Stomps Feller in Theatre Tuscaloosa’s upcoming production of “Nuncrackers,” running Dec. 11-20 in the Bean-Brown Theatre. Photo courtesy of Porfirio Solorzano

Ellen Johnson

By Ellen Johnson | Staff Reporter

Dancing nuns, puppets, musical comedy and Christmas spirit may not seem like a likely combination, but one show will bring them all together this holiday season.

Theatre Tuscaloosa will present “Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical,” one of six sequels in the “Nunsense” series, Dec. 11 through Dec. 20 at the Bean-Brown Theatre. This is the second show in the theatre’s 2015-2016 series. 

“Nuncrackers” catches the audience up on the original “Nunsense” sisters as they prepare to tape a TV special in their convent basement. The show does a different take on Christmas songs, with tunes such as “Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Our House” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are Us.” Adam Miller, managing director at Theatre Tuscaloosa, is looking forward to sharing with audience members this holiday story with heart.

“It’s lots and lots of fun,” Miller said. “People really like the nuns because they’re fun and engaging. There’s no fourth wall, and they engage with the audience.”

The holidays can be a stressful time, but Miller said this show could serve as nice release from all the chaos that can comprise the holiday season. 

“I think we all need a good laugh at the holidays,” Miller said. “We all have these expectations of the holidays being wonderful and glorious, but sometimes when you’re in the middle of it, it’s stressful and difficult and you need a little release-sometimes you need to get out of the house.”

While the show focuses on nuns, you don’t have to be religious to enjoy the humor and holiday spirit that is spun throughout each song and sketch.

“It’s about a set of nuns, but you don’t have to be Catholic or Christian to enjoy the show,” Miller said. “It’s definitely broad enough for anyone to relate to it. It’s a great way to bond with friends and family and have a good time.”

Beth Stomps Feller, former Miss Alabama 1996 and University of Alabama graduate with a degree in theater, returns to Theatre Tuscaloosa after more than ten years living on the west coast. She plays the character of Sister Robert Anne, the nun with street smarts. 

“She’s described as a street-wise nun from Brooklyn, New York,” Feller said. “She is full of warmth and love and authenticity.”

While the story is full of whip-smart humor and comedy, Feller described each character as having their own sense of warmth and genuineness to go along with their more comedic roles in the show.

“All of these nuns are really, at the core, genuine, loving characters,” Feller said. “Not only are they funny, but they’re authentic and genuine. Sometimes that total authenticity they have is what makes them funny.”

With so much going on this time of year, Feller also encourages audiences to leave their troubles behind for a few hours and truly enjoy what live theater has to offer.

“With so much going on in the world, global issues that we face everyday and the more micro-struggle that everyone faces during the holiday, this is the kind of holiday show, when once you enter into the theater, you are pulled away and invited into a wonderful world,” Feller said. “So many people have traditions, but this is something different to celebrate the holidays.”

Feller, too, has holiday traditions, and after the show is over, she is looking forward to spending time with friends and family.

“Now that I’m a mom it’s really fun to share a lot of these experiences with my kids,” Feller said. “One of our favorite traditions was introducing my daughter to the performing arts, and there’s so many performing arts things going on during the holidays. We take our daughter to “The Nutcracker” every year.”

While this show is not a traditional holiday performance, it offers one thing that cannot be found in any other show.

“There’s nothing funnier than a dancing nun,” Feller said.

Tickets for “Nuncrackers” can be purchased online at http://www.theatretusc.com/shows/nuncrackers/ or by calling the box office at 205-391-2277.