"Sister, Sister." Denise Fennell answers to that name, and it brings back memories of days spent in Catholic school in the hit show "Late Nite Catechism," playing Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, June 2.
"Late Nite Catechism" is an uproarious piece of theater that takes audiences back -- sometimes nostalgically, sometimes fearfully -- to the kids they used to be.
Sister, an irrepressible nun, teaches an adult catechism class to a roomful of "students" -- the audience. During the course of the play, Sister changes from a benevolent instructor, who rewards her "students" for correct answers with glow-in-the-dark rosaries and laminated saint cards, to an authoritative drill sergeant.
Her abrupt mood swings will strike a resonant chord with all who survived the ups and downs of going to school with an omniscient authoritarian in charge.
Maripat Donovan, the show's co-creator and the original Sister, discovered Fennell when she was appearing as Tina in off-Broadway's "Tony n' Tina's Wedding."
She trained Fennell personally for the role, and the actress is now a veteran of the various shows in the "Late Nite Catechism" series, playing to rave reviews across the U.S. and Canada.
She recently completed a run of "Shear Madness" at the Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston and was singled out for her character work as Barbara Demarco. She also appeared in the off-Broadway company of "Shear Madness" in New York City.
Besides "Late Nite Catechism," Fennell has appeared in Jane Wagner's award-winning comedy "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe." She is also a producer and co-creator of "Totally Tubular Time Machine" and "Birdy's Bachelorette Party" in New York and Las Vegas. Her most recent project, "Channeling the King," is a touching, funny one-man show featuring Elvis Presley's greatest hits.
Visit www.denisefennell.net for info on Fennell.
Tickets for "Late Nite Catechism" are $35-$55 at www.lowell auditorium.com.
Nancye Tuttle's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the marquee
FAMILY SECRETS: Arthur Miller, one of the most celebrated American playwrights of the 20th century, was said to be the moral conscience of the nation, writing about father-son relationships in such classics as "Death of a Salesman" and "All My Sons." But in his private life, he carried a secret -- a son born with Down syndrome whom he refused to acknowledge. Bernard Weinraub, an entertainment reporter-turned-playwright, explores this untold story of Miller and his third wife, photographer Inge Morath, in "Fall," a new play now in its world premiere through June 16 at the Huntington Theatre's Calderwood Pavilion space in Boston's South End. Artistic director Peter DuBois directs the play and says, "I am proud Boston audiences are the first to see this show and discover more about a playwright that they thought they knew." For tickets and special events being held in conjunction with the production, visit www.huntingtontheatre.org.
SUMMER LEARNING: Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell has appointed Will Rogers, a producer/director/performer, as the new director of its Young Company, a professional theater training program for high-school students. Guest teaching artists this year include MRT alums Vichet Chum, a playwright/director/actor who wrote "KNYUM," produced earlier this season, as well as fight choreographer Angie Jepson ("The Villains' Supper Club") and L.A.-based acting teacher Richard Liccardo. Registration is open for the July 16-Aug. 3 summer program, which will be followed by "insider opportunities" during MRT's 2018-19 season that will help students develop their voices and learn about performing improv, musical theater and modern approaches to acting and auditioning. It's open to any student entering grades 9-12 in the fall. The cost is $450, which includes summer and yearlong involvement. Scholarships and payment plans are available. Visit www.mrt.org/youngcompany or contact Rogers at email@example.com for info and to register. ... LTC, Lowell's community media and education center, offers a free, two-week, summer Film Makers Lab for teens. It will meet Monday-Friday, July 9-20, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and offer teens the chance to produce an original fiction film, including script development, location filming, editing and more. Andre Mayo instructs. Space is limited. Applications are available at LTC, 246 Market St., Lowell, or www.ltc.org. Deadline for completed application is June 22.
NORTON HONORS: Leigh Barrett, an esteemed Boston-based actress with countless credits over several decades, was honored with the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence at this week's 36th annual Elliot Norton Awards festivities in Boston. Hosted by the Boston Theatre Critics Association and named in honor of the late, legendary Boston theater critic, the awards were held at the Huntington Theatre. She joins a long list of past honorees, including Olympia Dukakis, Julie Harris, Brian Dennehy, Edward Albee and Sir Ian McKellen. For a full list of honorees and nominees, visit http://www.elliotnortonawards.com.