Detroit's intimate Century Theatre opens Late Nite Catechism Sept. 20, offering the Motown premiere of the comic encounter with a pre-Vatican II nun who guides her catechism pupils — the audience — with an iron ruler.
Lisa Buscani, who has been played Sister on tour, is the nunsensical star of the solo interactive show in downtown Detroit. Previews began Sept. 13 and performances will continue to Dec. 31.
The comedy by Maripat Donovan and Vicki Quade premiered in Chicago in 1993 and became an international hit. The script is drawn from Donovan's childhood experiences being taught by Catholic nuns for 16 years. Donovan was the original star of the piece.
Although Dec. 31 is the announced closing, don't be surprised is there's a future for the play. Detroit has always been a hot town for Catholic shows: Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? and Nunsense were two of the longest-running musicals in Michigan history when they played extended (and return) engagements at the Nederlander run Birmingham Theatre in suburban Detroit.
Late Nite Catechism is billed as "part lecture, part improvisation and part question-and-answer session," an affectionate portrait of "Sister" and a bygone era. If you are chewing gum, sister will find out and make you spit it out. Patrick Trettenero directs. The Century, at 333 Madison Avenue, is the sister venue to the Gem Theatre, which continues to house the long-running Jeff Daniels comedy, Escanaba in da Moonlight, set in Michigan's wild Upper Peninsula. That show has been extended to Dec. 31, making it the longest-running production in Detroit history.
Tickets for Late Nite Catechism are $14.75-$34.50. For ticket information, call (313) 963-9800 or Ticketmaster at (248) 645-6666. Visit the Gem and Century web site at www.gemtheatre.com.
-- By Kenneth Jones