Lake Benton Opera House to present ‘Nunset Boulevard’

In the last 17 years, the Lake Benton Opera House has performed several of the zany adventures of the Little Sisters of Hoboken.

The Lake Benton Opera House is presenting “Nunset Boulevard” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3-5, 10-12 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 6, 12, 13. The show is being directed by Mark Wilmes.

Wilmes said this is the seventh “Nunsense” show the Opera House has done.

“We did the original back in 1996,” he said. Wilmes did not direct the first one, but he has done the other six.

The “Nunsense” shows are filled with sight gags and zingers with a lot of audience interaction, Wilmes said.

“The audience doesn’t need to see the earlier shows to understand what’s going on, but if you’ve seen them before, the characters are familiar to ticket buyers,” Wilmes said. “The shows don’t pretend to be classic American theater. It’s more like a wink and a nudge creating the feeling that everyone is in on the joke.”

Two weeks before the opening, a death in the family caused one of the actresses to drop out of the show. Wilmes said the show’s accompanist, Stacey Voit, offered to move into the role and learn the part.

“She has done a great job of stepping into the part of Sister Amnesia,” Wilmes said.

Of the seven “Nunsense” shows, in four of those years, the Opera House has lost someone involved with the show less than three weeks before opening, Wilmes said.

“So we are starting to think the show may be jinxed for us,” he said. “Fortunately, we’ve always found talented people to step up and take over.” John Ward of Marshall took over as the show’s accompanist.

Canby High School sophomore Bailey Hintz portrays Sister Leo in the show. She’s a relative newcomer to the Opera House stage, which includes being in the summer musical “Oliver.”

“It was my first time trying out for a major role, so I figured, what the heck, why not?” Hintz said.

And she’s been having fun with the experience.

“It’s a historical building. I love theater. Mark is a great director. It’s just the whole package,” Hintz said.

Wilmes said the show is great for a quick dose of mood elevation.

“There is no deep plot to think about, so the audience can just sit back and enjoy the laughs, which are plentiful,” Wilmes said.

Wilmes also credits the tech crew, which includes R.J. and Nathaniel Fleet of Lake Benton and Nathaniel Gates of Ivanhoe, with outdoing itself by creating a beautiful set and lighting scheme.

“It’s great working with the people down here,” Hintz said.