We recently commented on the way two Broadway plays depicting nuns, “Sister Act” and “High,” were characterized in their reviews.
“Sister Act” opened on Broadway at the end of April, much to the delight of the New York Times. The script, however, we said was shallow. We were being nice. The Times, in characteristic form, was not. Charles Isherwood couldn’t resist throwing a sucker punch, noting that “this sentimental story of a bad girl showing the good sisters how to get down has all the depth of a communion wafer, and possibly a little less bite.” Which only goes to show that even when a play about nuns does not offend, there is no guarantee that some critics won’t find an opportunity to do so.
Another play, “High,” featured a recovering alcoholic, gutter-mouth nun, the kind of sister that warms the heart of Broadway aficionados. Though Kathleen Turner managed to keep her clothes on for a change, she wishes someone could have dressed up the score: the play also opened at the end of April, but lasted less than a week after its premiere.
Evidently, we can’t blame Turner. Here is what Matthew Lombardo, the play’s creator, said in response to why he chose Turner: “In a word, I needed a broad, and when you think of a broad, you think of Kathleen Turner.” Guess this broad didn’t cut it as a nun.
In case the snickering class would like to meet real nuns, we suggested they check out the Sisters of Life. They are in sharp contrast to the Times Square nuns featured on Broadway, and quite unlike their imposters, they know how to succeed without denigrating themselves.