Nunsense II: The Second Coming could easily be subtitled “the rest of the story.” The sequel to the international hit musical Nunsense takes place approximately six weeks after the first “benefit performance.”
The same five nuns are back on stage at Mt. Saint Helen’s School for what is billed as a “Thank You Program” for their supporters. Since their first time out was such a success, they have decided that they should stick to their successful variety show formula. This time they are forced to work around the set dressing of The Mikado, which is being presented the following week by the Hoboken Music Society on the Mt. Saint Helen’s stage.
The show opens with the musical production number “Nunsense: The Magic Word.” The song is followed by a high-speed recapitulation of what happened at the first show, narrated by Sister Mary Hubert and acted out silent-film-style by Sisters Robert Anne, Mary Paul (Amnesia) and Leo. This is capped off by the upbeat “Winning is Just the Beginning.”
The program proceeds with Sister Mary Paul (she is the nun who had been hit on the head with a crucifix and was known as Sister Amnesia. She had remembered that she was a former country singer who had won the publishers’ Clearing House Sweepstakes and made the nuns instantly rich at the end of Nunsense I) running a bingo game in which something goes wrong and the entire audience wins at once.
The variety show continues with Sister Leo; now on roller skates, with Sister Hubert once again warning Sister Leo of the pitfalls ahead in “The Biggest Still Ain’t Best,” and with Sister Robert Anne grabbing a couple of props from the Mikado production and appearing as Madame Butterfly. These irritations aside, Reverend Mother feels confident that everything is going well as she presents Sister Mary Paul, the newest country-singing sensation. Sister Mary Paul comes complete with sequined scapular, cowboy boots and Sister Mary Annette (her puppet).
Then the telephone rings. Sister Leo answers to discover that the Franciscans are on their way to the convent to claim Sister Mary Paul as one of their own! Reverend Mother dispatches Sister Robert Anne to the convent to try to reason with the Franciscans while the other Sisters try to calm Sister Mary Paul. Reverend Mother continues center stage with stories from her days in the circus. The others follow Reverend Mother with “The Padre Polka” calling for women priests.
Sister Robert Anne returns, telling the sisters that she has convinced the Franciscans to take only the prize money and leave Sister Mary Paul. Hearing this news, Reverend Mother faints. “A Hat and Cane Song” rounds out the action in Act I.
The second half of the program begins with Sister Robert Anne (by popular demand) performing some new impressions with her veil. Meanwhile, the Franciscans have arrived backstage to retrieve Sister Mary Paul. The sisters present a plan to make back the soon-to-be-lost money in “We’re the Nuns to Come to When You Go.” But trouble mounts as word comes that Sister Julia, Child of God (the convent cook) is in jail! Srs. Robert Anne, Leo and Mary Paul head off to bail her out, while Sister Hubert says “If only it were 1962, I’d know exactly what to do.” Impersonating a rock’n’roll star, she sings “What Would Elvis Do?”
Reverend Mother decides to try to hawk the convent’s latest book, The Catholic Guide to Gift Giving. She is interrupted by news of the Franciscans’ return. As Reverend Mother leaves the stage, Sister Robert Anne remains, stealing the spotlight with “I Am Here to Stay.” With Reverend Mother off dealing with the Franciscans, the other sisters come back on stage to lead the audience in a sing-along aptly titled “What a Catastrophe.” A defeated Mother Superior returns. The Franciscans want everything, including Sister Mary Paul. Sister Mary Paul accepts her fate, singing a beautiful ballad, “No One Cared Like You.”
Then without warning, a birdhouse, which is part of the Mikado set, falls on Sister Mary Paul’s head and jogs her memory. The “Franciscans” are none other than the Health Inspector and his assistant (the sisters’ nemesis in the first show) trying to steal the prize money by masquerading as monks. Realizing that Sister Mary Paul and the money are safe, the sisters give thanks with the rousing gospel finale “There’s Only One Way to End Your Prayers,” and that’s to say, “Amen!”
REVEREND MOTHER MARY REGINA – Mother Superior
SISTER MARY HUBERT – Mistress of Novices
SISTER ROBERT ANNE – Streetwise nun from Brooklyn
SISTER MARY PAUL – aka AMNESIA. Nun who lost her memory
SISTER MARY LEO – Novice who wants to be a ballerina
FATHER VIRGIL – Convent Chaplain
SISTER MARY WILHELM – Convent Nurse
SISTER JULIA, CHILD OF GOD – Convent Cook
SISTER MARY BRENDAN – A teacher
SISTER MARY LUKE – A teacher
BROTHER TIMOTHY – Stagehand
CHORUS – Nuns, Brothers, Priests and Students
FATHER (or SISTER MARY) PATRICK – Musical Director/Conductor
SISTERS AND/OR PRIESTS AND BROTHERS – Musicians
SISTER MARY (or BROTHER) SEBASTIAN – Stage Manager
SISTER MARY (or BROTHER) MYOPIA – Spotlight Operator