Nun the Less

After losing money on last year’s musical, Theatre puts on limited but spirited production.


photo by Maggie Taylor

During the final musical number, the entire six-person cast dances to “Nunsense is Habit-Forming.”

Months spent producing last year’s spring musical, “Big Fish,” cost the drama department thousands of dollars.

The costumes, the set, the props and the rights to production were all paid for. But a week before the musical’s opening, COVID-19 took center stage. The musical was ultimately canceled, after it was put on indefinite hold for weeks.

“Honestly, I was just really bummed when it was canceled because it was one of my first big roles in a musical that didn’t happen,” senior Briana Lopez said. 

Lopez felt lucky to still be able to perform in future musicals, like this year’s “Nunsense.” Last year’s seniors, on the other hand, lost their final opportunity to perform before graduation.

“Of course I feel bad for [the seniors],” Lopez said. “I know that it must suck having your last show canceled.”

When it came time to plan this year’s productions, drama teacher Jamaal Solomon specifically chose “Nunsense” for its smaller cast. Its five members and limited set pieces were ideal, both to comply with COVID standards, and to save money. 

 “We started off with something that would be smaller so it wouldn’t be as expensive,” Solomon said. 

The budget for the set was smaller than the year prior; the only items purchased were a few paint brushes and rollers. Everything else, including microphones, costumes and the bed for the set, was recycled from past musicals or borrowed from Solomon’s network of local theater departments. 

“It was a labor of love working with other theaters around town [and] other schools that helped donate some things,” Solomon said. “It all worked out.”

Sophomore Grace Catina was a set co-coordinator, one of many who helped build the set for the production. The limited budget made making things like the set’s stained glass window hard, but not impossible. 

“It didn’t affect the quality of the set that much because we had most of the materials from years prior,” Catina said. 

The limited budget also failed to affect the cast’s enthusiasm for the production, as well as ticket sales. Even though the auditorium can open only at 35% capacity, Solomon was optimistic about the production’s capacity to make a profit.

During intermission, cast members collected donations from the audience with collection baskets. It allowed them to remain in-character as nuns, but it also gave the audience a way to further support the program.

Junior Ariah Todriff, who plays Sister Mary Regina, works on the Youth Advisory council as the performing arts committee chair. Her goal as chair is to help keep in-school performing arts programs active, especially in the financial department.

“One of our goals for this show is to present that we can do what we love in a safe and positive way,” Todriff said. “Our school theater department is really very fortunate to be putting on a show this year, because many other schools won’t be able to because of the financial situation they are in.”

Despite the limited budget and social distancing restrictions, the drama department still managed to put on a successful show.

“Really, these ladies have been working their tails off and on stage,” Solomon said. “The crews behind the scenes have been working so hard during rehearsal hours outside of rehearsal hours, and I cannot wait for people to see the show safely.”