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Those wacky nuns are back just in time for Christmas

PARK HILLS — When the nuns at Mount Saint Helen’s Convent decide to put on a live TV Christmas special, they have the best intentions but everything, of course, goes amok.

The Mineral Area College Little Theatre Guild brought “Nunsense” to the Parkland in 2003 and “Nunsense 2: The Second Coming” in 2006. Now, they are bringing back those wacky nuns — this time with the nun’s very own Christmas special.

“Nuncrackers” will be performed 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at the MAC Fine Arts Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The show is rated G. Tickets are available at MAC’s Bookstore or at the door, and cost $7 general admission, or $3 for senior citizens and MAC students who present an ID.

“Everything that can go wrong, does,” MAC Theatre Director Chuck Gallaher said of the nuns’ plan to put on a live TV Christmas special from the basement of their convent.

The main attraction gets injured.

The cook, Sister Julia, gets stuck at the county jail looking for the presents that have gone missing from under the tree.

There’s multiple black-outs and an inconvenient ringing phone.

For a third time on the MAC stage, Susan Dix of Desloge returns as Sister Mary Hubert and Dawn Fuemmeler of Farmington returns as Sister Mary Paul.

Sister Mary Paul, better known as Sister Amnesia, is the ditz of Mount Saint Helen’s Convent who wants to be a country singer. She’s constantly messing up things.

A crucifix fell on the nun’s head, causing her to lose her memory for awhile. She regained her memory in “Nunsense” but she’s “still not quite right,” Fuemmeler said.

Normally, Fuemmeler is in the Nutcracker, which takes the stage the same time period, but she just had to try out for Nuncrackers to reprise her role.

“She’s one of the funnest characters I have ever played,” Fuemmeler said.

Luckily, Nutcracker has a matinee so she can see her son and daughter perform in that.

Dix has become attached to her character, Sister Mary Hubert, who is second in command to the Reverend Mother.

“I love her,” she said. “This Christmas one is so much fun. There’s lots of good songs.”

Regina Brown-Vaughn of Farmington plays the Reverend Mother, Sister May Regina. She is the principal of the school.

“She is under the impression that she is in charge but really I think nobody is in charge,” Brown-Vaughn said.

She said you don’t have to be familiar with the Nunsense characters to enjoy the show.

“It’s a funny show with a funny cast,” she said. “You’re guaranteed a good time.”

Brittani O’Connell plays Sister Mary Leo. She loves ballet and dance and finally gets her chance to show off.

“For the longest time, Sister Mary Regina wouldn’t let her dance,” O’Connell said.

Unfortunately, she is injured as she takes the stage as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The air time on the live public-access cable show must be filled, requiring deft thinking and improvisation by the sisters, a priest, and mother superior. The variety numbers are trotted out. There’s a “Secret Santa” drawing, performances by the students, many funny musical numbers by the sisters, and reminiscing of Christmases past—including the years when Rev. Mother traveled with the circus.

Kelvin Urday plays Father Virgil, Sister’s Leo’s brother who is a Franciscan monk.

Urday said the monk typically ends up doing something he doesn’t want to do.

“The nuns tend to place him in sticky situations,” he said.

This includes an impression of Sister Julia making fruitcake.

Jennifer Stokes plays Sister Robert Anne, the street-wise nun who grew up in Brooklyn and has dreams of being on Broadway.

Alex Browers, 11, of Ironton; Killion Lewis-Foot, 17, of Park Hills; Rebecca Colligan, 13, of Farmington; and Libby Turner, 9, of Arcadia play the students of Mount Saint Helen’s school.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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