Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun — the Musical — Gets NYC Reading May 15

News   Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun — the Musical — Gets NYC Reading May 15
The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, a new musical, will be heard May 15 in the Musicals Tonight!/Musical Mondays Theatre Lab reading series, "New Musicals From the BMI Workshop," in midtown Manhattan.

The series offers "sneak previews of new musicals from the BMI Workshop, birthplace of Avenue Q, A Chorus Line and Little Shop of Horrors."

The Tragic and Horrible musical comedy has music and lyrics by Andy Monroe and book and additional lyrics by Blair Fell. A 45-minute cutting of it will be presented.

The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, based on the play written by Blair Fell, "is an homage to the story of Jeanine Deckers, the Belgian nun who became a chart-topping pop star under the name of Soeur Sourire with the song 'Dominique' in 1963."

According to the creators, "After the one hit wonder, her singing career — and life — devolved into a nightmare of addiction, depression, betrayal by the Church, and a tragic end in 1985."

The show, as one character puts it, is "mostly fiction and strictly libelous." It "adheres to the bare bones of Deckers' life, [but] owes more to the tradition of backstage melodramas such as Douglas Sirk's 'Imitation of Life', Mankiewicz's 'All About Eve' and Jacqueline Susann's 'Valley of the Dolls,' not to mention Russ Meyer's 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.'" The cast for the 6:15 PM presentation includes Brooks Braselman (Sister Coco), who is currently seen every Sunday as Natalie in "The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode"; Eileen Stevens (Soeur Jeanine), who has performed with Meredith Monk, Jane Comfort and Company, The Deptford Players, and in her one woman show, 'Tings in New York and Washington; Edward Watts (Father Lyon), recently in New York City Opera's The Most Happy Fella; Tracy Gilbert (Annie), who was Mrs. Zero/Daisy in The Adding Machine at the Public Theater for the Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater; Ben Strothmann (Inmate/ Ensemble), known in the theatre community as a theatrical photographer (Playbill Yearbook and elsewhere); Laura Desmond (Maman/Sister Maria), a member of Burning Boy Theatre Company and Blue Coyote Theater Group; Maggie Moore (Mother Helen/Ensemble).

Composer Andy Monroe has been a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop since 2001, and was a recipient of BMI's Jerry Harrington Musical Theatre Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in 2002. His musical short, The Life and Times of Joe Jefferson Benjamin Blow, has received several productions.

Librettist Blair Fell has written "many tragic-camp plays which have been performed all over the globe," including his cult hit Burning Habits. His plays The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun and Naked Will received numerous awards. Burning Habits opens again this June at Dillon's in Midtown.

The BMI series, under the umbrella of Musicals Tonight! and produced by Musical Mondays Theatre Lab, plays the 45th Street Theatre, 354 West 45th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Aves.). Admission is $10. For reservations, call (212) 989-6706 or email


Musicals Tonight! is produced by Mel Miller. Musical Mondays Theatre Lab's artistic director is Bick Goss and producing director is Frank Evans. Mary Ellen Ashley and Anne L. Bernstein are consulting producers.

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