‘Nunsense’ brings its inspired fun to Palos Verdes

So to pay for the funeral expenses, and with some of the bodies stored in the freezer, the surviving nuns come up with a plan to put on a stage production of “Grease” to raise enough money for the burial costs.It’s a wacky plot that has spawned several sequels by Goggin, including “Nunsense II: The Second Coming,” “Sister Amnesia’s Country Western Nunsense Jamboree,” “Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical” and “Nunset Boulevard,” which had the nuns travel to Hollywood to perform at the Hollywood Bowl.

Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. When: Opens 8 p.m. Sundays. Information: 310-544-0403, www.palosverdes performingarts.com. Jan. 20 and continues 8 p.m. Tickets: $30-$65. Where: Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center Drive, Rolling Hills Estates.
It all started in 1981 with a line of greeting cards created by Dan Goggin that featured nuns saying funny and unexpected things. Although they were an immediate hit, Goggin is still stunned at how far his spirited and wacky nuns have come.“It’s so surreal, it really just boggles my mind,” said Goggin, who turned his card concept into the wildly successful musical “Nunsense.”Now the acclaimed musical, with more than 10,000 productions in 26 languages all over the world since its debut, comes to Palos Verdes Performing Arts in Rolling Hills Estates with eight performances scheduled Jan. 20-29 at the Norris Theatre.

“Our nuns, for whatever reason, they were really fun,” Goggin recalled. “We had nuns that would go ice skating with us in their traditional habits.” The show follows five nuns from the Little Sisters of Hoboken Convent who are the only survivors of a cooking mishap that kills 52 other nuns when the cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally serves poisoned soup. And he would know something about nuns, since he attended Catholic school as a boy in Michigan and was inspired to write the musical by the nuns who taught him as a kid.

Featuring five nuns who plot to put on a musical to raise funds for a mass funeral, the show opened off-Broadway in 1985. “Although the funny thing is that real nuns are more zany than people would ever guess.” Since then it has won four Outer Circle Awards and has become the second-longest running off-Broadway show in history thanks to its 10-year, 3,672 performance run. It’s second only to “The Fantasticks.”“I think it’s because of the combination of the fact that there is still a little mystery to them (nuns) and the fact that these nuns are acting in a way that everybody seems to think is un-nunly,” Goggin said, explaining one of the reasons behind the success of the show.