Sonoma Valley Sun


‘Crackers’ for Christmas

Posted on November 30, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

It’s Christmas time in the farcical world of Nunsense, a series of comic musicals written by Dan Goggins, who must have gone to Catholic school. He’s written nine shows with the same characters – four wisecracking nuns and a hapless priest. Nuncrackers, in which the ensemble puts on a holiday TV special, comes to Andrews Hall, December 1 through 17. 

The Sonoma Arts Live production is directed by Andrew Smith.

“It is an incredibly fun show,” says Daniela Innocenti Beem, one of the Sisters of Hoboken. “How can you go wrong with singing and dancing nuns and one priest? Throw Christmas into the mix and you are bound for outrageous merriment and cheer.”

The Nunsense musical franchise, with its clever song parodies and charming recurring characters, is incredibly popular. 

“There are nine shows in total,” Beem says. “I have played Sister Robert Anne seven times in three out of them. I have some catching up to do.”

Nuncrackers takes place in real time in the basement of Mount Saint Helen’s Convent, where a Cable TV special is being taped. Mischief and one-liners ensue. There are silly songs and sing-alongs, a missing-gifts mystery, slapstick, dueling dancing fairies, and a rum cake – easy on the cake. 


Libby Oberlin, Maeve Smith, and Emma Sutherland join Beem in the sisterhood. The priest is played by Izaak Heath.

“We have a sensational cast,” she says. “All of us are throwing ourselves into the fun with abandonment. And we are surrounded by a sensational creative team with Andrew Smith leading the way.”

And it’s a family affair, says SAL Artistic Director Jaime Love. “Director Andrew Smith’s wife plays Sister Mary Amnesia, daughter Fiona (seven) plays a student, and little Teagan (four) sleeps on a cot in the audience, with her toys and lovey’s and watches the whole thing come together!”

It’s wonderful to have kids in a show, Love says, “we are having so much fun watching them blossom as performers.”

If you need a dash of delightful Christmas spirit sprinkled with a little joyful irreverence, Beem says, “Nuncrackers is for you.” And you just don’t argue with a nun – she might be holding a ruler. 

Nuncrackers, A Nunsense Christmas Musical. December 1-17. Thursday Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2pm. Andrews Hall, Sonoma Community Center. 276 E. Napa St. Sonoma. $25-$42.

Photo credit: Miller Oberlin, Oberlin Photography

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA