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The Dorset Players' production of 'Nunsense II: The Second Coming" opens Friday night at the Dorset Playhouse. from left are Christy Vogel as Sister Hubert and Laura King as Reverend Mother Regina.

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DORSET — “Nunsense II: The Second Coming” is the last production of the Dorset Players 94th season and the title, though coined decades ago, seems particularly apt these days.

This is the second time the company has tried to stage this show. The first attempt, in 2020, was kneecapped by COVID after three music rehearsals. This second attempt hasn’t gone untouched by the virus either; the opening performances last weekend had to cancelled because of illness.

“One of the nuns got COVID,” said Angie Merwin, the show’s director, who said it felt like the virus had been “trailing us for three months.” They had managed to make it so long without someone getting sick she thought that they might make it. But no.

What happens if someone gets sick this weekend? There’s no Plan B because Merwin said it would be impossible to have a person understudy five major roles.

“If someone comes down with it, we’re done,” Merwin said. “It is what it is. This is what we live in right now. All you can do is keep your fingers crossed and hope.”

The show opens this Friday, at 7:30 p.m at the Dorset Playhouse, at 104 Cheney Rd. COVID precautions are in place, she said, noting air filters were installed in the theater, patrons are being asked to mask, open seating will let people social distance if they wish, and there’s a limit on the number of people admitted to the theater.

“We’re doing everything other theaters are doing,” she said.

So, with fingers crossed, let’s get back to the show and its title. “The Second Coming” has other larger meanings, of course. It’s the title of a poem by William Butler Yeats. It’s the belief that Jesus Christ will return some day. And it also signals an encore for those dancing and singing Little Sisters of Hoboken, who became an international hit after the original “Nunsense” opened off-Broadway in 1985.

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“Nunsense,” written by Dan Goggin, was staged as a fictional fundraiser to help the nuns bury their fellow sisters, 52 of whom were accidently felled by a lethal pot of vichyssoise whipped up by – wait for it – Sister Julia, Child of God. “Nunsense II,” also penned by Goggin, is a theatrical “thank you” from the sisters for all the support shown to them in the earlier show. The “usual chaos erupts,” according to a Players’ press release.

Merwin directed the Dorset Players’ production of “Nunsense” five or six years ago. She signed on to do “Nunsense II” because the show and its songs “bring joy.”

“It’s very upbeat,” she said of “Nunsense II.” But it’s also been work for a cast, only one of whom appeared in the original show, in another part. Merwin said the cast has been rehearsing six days a week. “Linda Joy has them dancing like the Rockettes. I’m in awe of what they’re doing,” Merwin added.

“Linda Joy” is state Rep. Linda Joy Sullivan, D-Dorset, who is the show’s choreographer. Some of the cast had some dance training, Sullivan said, and some did not but they were “very eager to do their best and give it their all.”

Sullivan said the show is a musical from beginning to end and the cast had to learn to breath, dance and sing while wearing nuns habits.

“They’ve worked hard,” she said.

Performances of “Nunsense II: The Second Coming” are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Merwin said many people who had tickets for last weekend’s cancelled performances have exchanged them for tickets this weekend. To purchase tickets, go to: dorsetplayers.org or call 802-867-5777.


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