Disney's Tom Vazzana Directs Blackfriars' NUNSENSE, Now thru 7/20
It's been twenty years since Rochester audiences have seen a full production of the smash hit off-Broadway sensation, Nunsense. This summer the wait is over as local star Phyl Contestable returns as the Reverend Mother Regina in Blackfriars production of Nunsense!
Nunsense, which is written by Dan Goggin, begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of "Grease." Here we meet Reverend Mother Regina, a former circus performer; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; a streetwise nun from Brooklyn named Sister Robert Anne; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is a wannabe ballerina; and the delightfully wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head.
Featuring star turns, tap and ballet dancing, an audience quiz, a score that pulses with merriment and an unabashed desire to make you laugh plus comic interludes paced at break-neck speed, this show has become an international phenomenon. With more than 5000 productions worldwide, it has been translated into 21 languages and is the winner of the Outer Critics' Circle awards for the best off Broadway musical and for the best book and best music and seen at London's Fortune Theatre in 1987.
The prestigious Tom Vazzana, who has directed and choreographed several productions of Nunsense all over the country, returns to mount this inception as the director and choreographer of Blackfriars production this summer. In addition to a long career performing in Off-Broadway shows, Broadway tours and Broadway European tours, Mr. Vazzana is the Show Director at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida where he has directed Beauty and The Beast for Disney Hollywood Studios and the Hoop Dee DOO Revue. He is the creator and the director of the first Disney Glow in the Dark "Nightmare Before Christmas Parade", Senior Show Director for Disney Asia Pacific, and the development director of Hong Kong Disneyland and all Asian parades, shows and nighttime spectaculars. He is also the Senior Show Director for Disney markets in India, Vietnam, Korea, and China and is collaborating with Disney on the entertainment development for Shanghai Disneyland in the coming years.
"Nunsense is a unique theatrical experience. The show has a simplicity and truth about it that resonates with everyone," says Mr. Vazzana. "It's heartwarming and it's funny! The audience will have a one of a kind experience because this Blackfriars' company will have an authenticity, largely due to Phyl Contestable as Reverend Mother. I will be re-creating many moments from the original production that I believe are perfect and there will be some updated surprises too!"
The production features an all-star cast with a collection of Rochester's finest female talent including Phyl Contestable as Reverend Mother Regina, Esther Winter as Sister Mary Hubert, Janine Mercandetti as Sister Robert Anne, Mandy Hassett as Sister Mary Amnesia and Elizabeth West as Sister Mary Leo. Andy Pratt is the shows' musical director and local seamstress extraordinaire, Lana Momano, returns to make the costumes. Blackfriars Artistic Director John Haldoupis, who is in his final season with Blackfriars, will bring his famous artistic talent to the stage for one of his last times as the productions set designer.
"This is Nunsense refreshed!" says the shows' star Phyl Contesteble. "This outrageously talented cast is larger than life. These women are artists and I am so excited to work with them!" Furthermore, "Disney has never been the same since they brought Tom Vazzana on board. He's a treasured friend who I've always admired and, in many ways, tried to emulate. Tom is brilliant and has an exhilarating energy onstage. Don't expect the predictable, same 'ol familiar show!"
Nunsense, which is written by Dan Goggin, offers a cornucopia of hilarity for the whole family at Blackfriars Theatre (795 East Main Street, Rochester 14605) beginning July 11 and running through July 20. Performances are Friday's, July 11 and 18 at 8:00 pm; Saturday's, July 12 and 19 at 8:00 pm; Sunday's, July 13 and 20 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Tuesday, July 15 at 7:30 pm and Wednesday, July 17 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $29.50 and available in person at Blackfriars Theatre, online at www.blackfriars.org, or by calling 585-454-1260. If available, tickets can be purchased at the door beginning one-hour prior to performance. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m., and Saturday's, noon to 4:00 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Discover are accepted at no additional charge.
Blackfriars Theatre, a professional, not-for-profit theatre located on Rochester, NY's "Theatre Row is located at 795 East Main Street. Parking is available on site. Handicapped seating is available. For more information regarding Blackfriars Theatre, visit their website at www.blackfriars.org.