SWHS drama teacher reprises ‘Nunsense’ musical

Shelby DeSoto
South Walton High School Drama teacher Don Goodrum is directing the musical “Nunsense.”

While most teachers spend their summer relaxing and preparing for the next school year, South Walton High School drama teacher Don Goodrum has been busy directing the musical “Nunsense” alongside the community theater, Stage Crafters.

Goodrum has been teaching at SWHS since 2007 and directed the school’s last musical, “Cinderella,” in April. He has also helped direct more than 10 shows with Stage Crafters.

This musical tells the story of five remaining nuns of the Little Sisters of Hoboken order who must raise money to bury the last four of the 52 nuns who died after eating a bad batch of vichyssoise.

The sisters band together and put on a show to raise money to bury the four still left in the convent’s freezer. With a premise like this, comedy is certainly at the forefront of “Nunsense.”

“One of these nuns is a career nun; she’s wanted to be a nun since she was six. The rest of them sort of detoured from other life choices… so you got a really interesting mix of people and personalities,” he said.

Since the cast was announced in June, Goodrum told The Sun the five nuns from Hoboken have been working diligently with nightly rehearsals throughout the weeks leading up to opening night.  

When rehearsing for a musical, you usually have eight weeks before opening night, but “Nunsense” has only six weeks, so making every rehearsal count has been a priority, he said.

“I think when you’re doing a show like this, so much emphasis is on the singing and the dancing… because over half of the show is singing and dancing,” said Goodrum. “As a general rule with a lot of theaters, I think the acting gets short shrift, and since I sing but I’m not musically inclined… I really have to concentrate on the acting. And there are a series of monologues in this show that really require a certain finesse and we’ve had the opportunity to work on that.”

When it comes to directing a group of adults versus students, Goodrum says it’s all about giving the right direction.

“With teenagers you have to show them where to stand… tell them how to say the line. With adults, especially with this experienced group of adults, you just point them in the right direction,” he said.

“My schedule has been really challenging with this show,” said Goodrum, who is also an ordained minister.

He added that choreographer Nancy Kruzek and music director Tom Hood have stepped up to the plate by working as a team and providing constructive criticism when needed.

This is also the second time the musical has been put on by Stage Crafters, he said.

“Craig Ewing directed it the first time and Jane Judkins, who was in the first production, has come back to join us as Sister Mary Hubert which is the role she played before.”

“This is the beginning of a new tradition and these women are all wonderful and they bring something new to the show, something new to the characters and an energy I think, that works really well,” said Goodrum.

Guests coming to the show can look forward to energetic slap stick comedy with phenomenal singing, said Goodrum.

Tickets to “Nunsense” can be purchased by calling 850-243-1101. The musical will be shown Aug. 14, 15, 16 as well as 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. in the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium. For more information, visit https://www.stagecrafters.com.