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The Ecumenical Nunsense

Musical in 2 acts. written by Dan Goggin


Nuncrackers, The Nunsense Christmas Musical is over and the Kunkels (the poor family that lives behind Mount St. Helen's School) have won the lottery. Although they had given their lottery ticket to the Sisters in exchange for some gifts, when it was discovered that the ticket was a winner, the sisters returned it to the Kunkels. In appreciation the Kunkels have given the Sisters an all-expense-paid trip on the "Faiths of All Nations" Cruise.

After a week at sea the ship runs into a storm and several people become ill, including all the entertainers: the cast of Fiddler on the Roof. All except the actor playing Tevye, that is. The captain of the ship, knowing of the Sisters' show biz savvy, requests that the Sisters and Tevye put on a revue. The result: Meshuggah-Nuns! The Ecumenical Nunsense.


In the fifth "Nunsense" adventure, we find the Sisters on an all-expense-paid trip on the "Faiths of All Nations" Cruise. It seems that the Kunkels (the poor family who live behind Mt. Saint Helen's School) have won the lottery. Although they had given their ticket to the Sisters in exchange for some gifts, when it was discovered that the ticket was a winner, the Sisters returned the ticket to the Kunkels. In appreciation, the Kunkels have paid for the Sisters' trip.

After a time at sea, the ship runs into a terrible storm that lasts nearly a week. Many people become seasick including the entertainers - the cast of "Fiddler on the Roof." All except the actor playing "Tevye", that is. The ship's captain, knowing of the Sisters' show-business savvy, requests that the Sisters and "Tevye" put on an original revue. The result: "Meshuggah-Nuns!"
The theatre is set up to be the ship's auditorium. The stage is set with pieces from what would have been "Fiddler on the Roof" with portholes and exists to the ship's deck in view. Act One opens with the nuns coming out into the audience to "warm them up." As "showtime" nears, the nuns, with the exception of Sister Robert Anne, go backstage to prepare. Sister Robert Anne takes centre stage, sets the scene, and explains who the sisters are in case people have not experienced any of their previous ventures.

The rest of the cast enters singing the Prologue and the rousing Anchors Aweigh. Then Howard and Mother Superior discuss with the audience the question of finding something in common to create the show. The answer: Guilt. This becomes the hilarious production number Contrition. The song is followed by Sister Amnesia doing some questionable magic tricks, during which Howard makes some comments in Yiddish. Mother Superior, not understanding, is quickly "brought up to speed" in the duet with Howard singing Say It In Yiddish.
Sister Robert Anne and Sister Hubert, feeling a bit left out, tell of their displeasure in Tevye & Rev. No show would be complete without one of Sister Amnesia's country hits and her latest is My Ship. After her song, she and Howard explain that Klezmer music is sort of the country music of the Jewish people, and they have created their own Klezmer song and dance. The cast (except for Reverend Mother) performs The Potchky Polka. Reverend Mother returns to the stage saying that she had been summoned by the Captain for a ship-to-shore phone call. The cast fears trouble, but Reverend Mother allays their fears saying it was only Howard's family wishing everyone good luck with the show.

Throughout the show there are many one-liner jokes and "walk-ons" featuring both convent and Jewish humour from cast members appearing in portholes, doorways, etc.
Mother Superior and Howard point out the fact that there is so much food on the cruise. This leads into a comic monologue for Howard followed by Reverend Mother's appearance as Sophie Tucker singing My Fat Is My Fortune. The finale to the first act is a tribute to ship disasters of the cinema...an elaborate production number entitled Das Boat featuring Reverend Mother and Howard as Belle and Manny Rosen from the "Poseidon Adventure," Sister Hubert as Captain Steubing from "The Loveboat," Sister Robert Anne as Molly Brown from the "Titanic," and Sister Amnesia as both Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island" and the Giant Squid from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
Act Two begins with the cast singing a short reprise of the Prologue. Howard and Sister Robert Anne sit down and chat about their lives culminating in the balled A Love Like This. The entire cast then participates in a reprise of Say It In Yiddish complete with a Hora Dance. Sister Robert Anne points out that they have much more in common than they ever thought except that Howard isn't Catholic. He answers with the comical solo If I Were A Catholic. Sisters Hubert, Robert Anne and Amnesia follow that with their "Andrews Sisters" song Three Shayna Maidels. As they exit the stage Reverend Mother and Howard open the Duty Free Shopping Segment which ends with all five cast members appearing as The Village People singing Matzo Man.

The Sisters, feeling that Howard may be disappointed that "Fiddler on the Roof" was cancelled, ask the audience to join them singing Fiddlerspiel, an original song which tells the story of Tevye and his daughters. After the song, the nuns exit the stage, and as Howard is expressing his gratitude, Sister Mary Annette (the famous "Nunsense" Puppet) makes an unscheduled appearance as Mae West (in a Mae West life preserver) singing Come Up And See Me Sometime. When the others return, Mother Superior sees Sister Mary Annette, grabs her and opening the deck door, heaves her overboard. This causes pandemonium which results in both Sister Amnesia jumping over to save Sister Mary Annette and Reverend Mother following to save Sister Amnesia. Meanwhile on stage, Sister Robert Anne tries to fill time by singing I'll Find A Song To Sing.
Finally all are saved and, as the cast returns they are all, more than ever, aware of the importance of finding the good in everyone. This is embodied in the finale featuring Sister Hubert with the entire cast singing Rock the Boat. The curtain comes down as the cast closes with a reprise of Anchors Aweigh.

- Dan Goggin


Musical Numbers

  1. Prologue & Anchors Aweigh - Cast
  2. Contrition (A Song of Guilt) - Cast
  3. Say it in Yiddish - Howard and Reverend Mother
  4. Tevye and Rev - Srs. Robert Anne & Hubert
  5. My Ship - Sr. Amnesia
  6. The Potchky Polka - Howard, Srs. Robert Anne, Amnesia & Hubert
  7. My Fat is My Fortune - Reverend Mother
  8. Das Boat - Cast
  9. Prologue to Act 2 - Cast
  10. A Love Like This - Sr. Robert Anne & Howard
  11. Reprise: Say it in Yiddish - Cast
  12. If I Were a Catholic - Howard
  13. Three Shayna Maidels - Srs. Hubert, Robert Anne & Amnesia
  14. Matzo Man - Cast
  15. Fiddlerspiel - Nuns & Friends
  16. Come Up and See Me Sometime - Sr. Mary Annette & Howard
  17. I'll Find a Song to Sing - Sr. Robert Anne
  18. Rock the Boat - Sr. Hubert & Cast
  19. Reprise: Anchors Aweigh - Cast


1Reed: Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & Washboard; 1 Violin (one player), doubling Tambourine; Percussion Bells; Xylophone; Chimes (D-flat, C, F, and E); Timpani (26" and 29"); Trap Set:; Snare Drum; Bass Drum; Small Tom ; om Floor Tom Tom; Cymbals (Hi-Hat, Ride, Splash, Crash); Tambourine; Ship's Bell ; Triangle; Slapstick; 1 Synthesizer (an upper keyboard for instrumental registrations and a lower keyboard for Bass); 1 Piano; Piano-Conductor's Score sent with rehearsal material.