Mansfield Theatricals presents ‘Nuncrackers’

By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

“Nuncrackers” cast members and crew include Jim Mickelson, Diana Mickelson, Christy McGraw, Joyce McGraw, Christy Asmussen, Adrienne Douke, Alysha McGraw, Evalee Shafer and Ian Minatani. (Provided photo/Amanda Shafer)

The Mansfield Theatricals theater group presented their production of “Nuncrackers” June 7, 9 and 11.

The play, written by Dan Goggin and produced by arrangement with Tams Witmark Music Library, Inc., is a charming musical that evolved from a cabaret act of “Nunsense.” It is the fourth installment in the “Nunsense” series of the musical comedies. “Nunsense” productions have been popular off-Broadway hits for decades.

The play is witty, irreverent and contains plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor that “Nunsense” audiences have come to expect.

The Mansfield Theatricals (formerly Mansfield Theatrical Company) has put on plays of every genre for 30 years. Mansfield Theatricals’ signature sentence, “That’s all you know,” came early this year right after Sister Robert Anne, played by assistant director Diana Mickelson, explained what happened to Sister Amnesia’s memory loss. Father Virgil responds, “But she’s just fine now,” and Robert Anne says, “That’s all you know!”

“That’s all you know” is a sentence that audiences ‘in the know’ have anticipated since the first play we did which was ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ really,” Mickelson recalls, “They get a kick out catching it every time. They wait for it.”

Acting has been a family affair for the McGraws as Christy McGraw played Sister Amnesia, and her daughters Alysha and Joyce played supporting roles as Louise and Maria, respectively. Alysha and Joyce and Evalee Shafer, as Billie, sang “Santa’s Little Teapot.” Shafer’s character also played played The Nutcracker Prince. Alysha McGraw also appeared as the Mouse King and Joyce also played Clara.

“We like to support the performing arts and play acting is a unique Mansfield tradition,” Christy McGraw said. “We were so fortunate for all those years we had Diana Mickelson as our fifth grade teacher, and our music and drama instructor. We are very happy that we can continue acting by putting on these plays with the Mansfield Theatricals.”

“Nuncrackers” director Jim Mickelson, as Father Virgil, gave a rousing performance as Sister Julia (Child of God) when called to host a cooking show called Sister Julia’s Festive Food Fantasy Frolic. In the scene, a reluctant Father Virgil agreed to do a cooking show as Sister Julia. During the cooking show, she incorporated liberal libations of rum into the fruitcake recipe while imbibing a fair bit herself, “Because you want to make sure the rum has not gone bad.” The madcap result is a rollicking good time for the audience.

Diana Mickelson, as streetwise Sister Robert Anne, sang her heart out in, “All I Want for Christmas is a One Night Stand.”

Christy Asmussen played Reverend Mother, whose character’s background included the circus, and putting on shows came as second nature to her. As the Reverend Mother shepherds her convent and Father Virgil through the play, she overcame obstacles, setbacks and wrong lines where loud crashes were the norm. The Reverend Mother never forgot that the “show must go on” even faced with difficulties and there was “always a lesson to be learned,” as Sister Robert Anne noted.

Cast members and crew included Jim Mickelson, Diana Mickelson, Christy Asmussen, Christy McGraw, Alysha McGraw, Evalee Shafer, Joyce McGraw and Adrienne Douke as Sister Mary Clarence. Douke was also stage manager and Ian Minatani ran sound and lights.

The Mansfield Theatrical Co. is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and donations for its productions.

“A lot of our capital for expenses still comes out of our own pocket to put these plays on, and donations are always welcome,” Diana Mickelson said.

Cory Moore said, “We’ve been coming to these plays for as long as I can remember and they are always really good. We always have a good time watching our friends and family perform on stage.”

“It was really good,” Nancy Glessner said. “I enjoyed it so much, it was very funny, great fun to watch. We are very lucky to have plays here in Mansfield like this one.”

Jim Mickelson concluded, “It seems amazing that we have continued to do these yearly shows despite the lack of real funding and the difficulty of finding willing and reliable performers consistently. We will keep going through the frustrations and torments as long as we are able because, well, that’s all we know!”

For further information or to make donations, The Mansfield Theatricals group may be reached at P.O. Box 691, Mansfield, Wash. 98830. They are also on Facebook.