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NLT presents mystery spoof about movie stars turned nuns

SAM GAUSE/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cast members of “And Then There Were … Nun” perform a number during play practice. The show opens Thursday and runs through Sunday. Written by Bruce W. Gilray and Richard T. Witter, the comedy brings to the stage 10 iconic movie stars and puts them on an island together. One by one each of the golden age actresses start to die turning the play into a murder mystery.

SAM GAUSE/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cast members of “And Then There Were … Nun” perform a number during play practice. The show opens Thursday and runs through Sunday. Written by Bruce W. Gilray and Richard T. Witter, the comedy brings to the stage 10 iconic movie stars and puts them on an island together. One by one each of the golden age actresses start to die turning the play into a murder mystery.

Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and a slew of other Hollywood divas will take the stage in Natchez this week for a sidesplitting production that blends comedy with who-dun-it mystery.

Natchez Little Theatre will kick off its 83rd year with a comedy and murder mystery all rolled into one and titled, “And Then There Were … Nun.”

The play was written in the style of a classic 1940s murder mystery, but includes iconic movie stars of the past as potential killers and victims of a murderer, director and NLT general manager Don Vesterse said.

“I have never worked with so many has-been movie stars,” Vesterse said, laughing. “It’s been a challenging one to do by having to find actors who resemble and can portray these movie stars that people are aware of because they’re all so famous in their fields.”

The production is a parody of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians,” which was later renamed, “And Then There Were None” for political correctness.

The NLT production finds 10 iconic Golden Age stars-turned nuns attending a weekend retreat in a foreboding mansion on a secluded island where death lurks around each and every corner.

The group is comprised of a number of famous Hollywood stars including Gloria Swanson, Tallulah Bankhead, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel, Mae West, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and Alfred Hitchcock.

NLT Executive Director Layne Taylor said the theater was extremely fortunate to find actors that matched up perfectly with all of the famous Hollywood stars.

“We didn’t think about how hard it would be to find actors to play these Hollywood stars, but we were very blessed at our auditions,” Taylor said. “The cast is just phenomenal and it wasn’t anything that a little makeup and the right hair made them scream the part.”

Taylor said even the vocals of each actor matched their Hollywood counterparts.

“That’s something you don’t think about initially, but these actors have to have the vocals just right for all the stars,” Taylor said. “First to see these iconic movie stars portrayed very believably as far as looks is one thing, but when you have them copying the vocals it’s just incredible.”

Taylor said the two-hour show is one of the funniest productions he’s been a part of at the theater.

“Each line is a zinger, because you’re dealing with 10 divas that are all on stage together,” Taylor said. “I have never laughed so hard in a rehearsal in my life. I laughed so hard during one of the rehearsals they asked me if I could please leave because they could not concentrate.”

Taylor said he hopes Natchez residents echo his laughter when actors from across the Miss-Lou take the stage to perform this week.

“I told them that if they couldn’t handle my laughter then they were going to be in trouble when it was a full house laughing their heads off,” Taylor said. “This is the type of show that the audience is going to love, because it’s just one laugh after the other.”

A benefit performance will be hosted at 7 tonight. Tickets for the benefit performance are $12 each.

Opening night is Thursday and the show will continue Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The show will close with a final performance at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for the performances are $15 for non-members of NLT.

For reservations, contact NLT by phone at 601-442-2233 or toll free at 1-877-440-2233 or by email at natchezlt@cableone.net.

Tickets can also be purchased in advance at natcheztheatre.org.

NLT is located at 319 Linton Ave., at Maple Street in Natchez.

 

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