A LETTER FROM A MEMBER OF MOUNT SAINT HELEN'S PARISH
It was a cold day in August when I met the Little Sisters of Hoboken. Contralto's the name. Angelo Contralto. I've been in the fund-raising racket for 25 years and I'm proud to say I'm one of Mount Saint Helen's biggest donors.
You may know that Reverand Mother Regina and I have never been what you might call "close" - probably because I tell it like it is. But if you're new around these parts, you need to know the facts. The Sisters' lives took a sharp turn in 1992, the year their convent cook, sister Julia - Child of God, made some vichyssoise soup and 52 of the Sisters bit the dust - it was botulism. When Reverend Mother used part of the dough for the burials to buy a Plasma TV, it meant the last four stiffs had to be put on ice - in the convent freezer. That's when Reverend Mother, a dame who had grown up in a circus family, decided they should put on a show to raise the extra cash. Sister Mary Leo, a pretty young thing, who hoped to become the first nun ballerina volunteered to choreograph, while Sister Robert Anne, a streetwise gal from Brooklyn helped with the music.
Now, Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices, felt it was wrong to buy the Plasma TV but as second in command, she tried hard not to make waves with Reverend Mother. During the benefit Sister Mary Amnesia, a daffy chick, who had been called that ever since a crucifix fell on her head, remembered she was Sister Mary Paul, a country singer. When Reverend Mother realized that Sister May Paul was the was the name of the nun who had won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes the case could've been closed. But the story didn't end there.
They decided to put on a second show to thank their benefactors. And since Reverend Mother didn't want Mary Paul (who they still call Sister Amnesia) to waste her talent, she got her a recording contract. That resulted in a third show, "The Jamboree."
With a few bucks left over, Reverend Mother, who still had show business in her blood, taped a Christmas Special called "Nuncrackers". Shortly after, the Sisters were given a cruise by a parishioner with a big heart and small feet. When the cast of the show "Fiddler on the Roof" got seasick, the Yiddish star, who was the only one able to perform, asked the Sisters to join him in "Meshuggah-Nuns."
Just when they thought their show business days were over, Lady Luck, along with my pal, Vinnie Prestapini, lured them to Las Vegas for "Nunsensations." Due to some unfortunate circumstances, in which I was unfairly implicated I might say, that engagement was cut short and, as a consequence, I got the Sisters an engagement here at the fabulous Hollywood Bowl.
And so their story continues . . . .
Frank Sinatra Drive
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Page 5 of 20
Copyright © 2017 Playbill Online Inc. All marks used by permission.