Thursday, August 17, 2017

Laughing Stock: Late Nite Laugh Lessons

Posted By on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 12:33 PM

Be sure to play with your cell phone and tussle with your neighbor. Maybe snap some gum or just put on your best worst attitude. You could be part of the show as a nightmare of a nun stereotype becomes a figure of way too much fun in Late Nite Catechism. The one-loveable-badass-woman-show for all ages is at the Fox Theatre at 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20.

Late Nite has won dozens of awards and made careers for more than a half-dozen actors. Although much of it is scripted, the most memorable parts usually happen when Sister interacts with unruly “students” in her theater classroom.

The Fox production features Patricia Hannon, who for 17 years has appeared regularly as Sister at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. As an actress and improviser in in Chicago, she had won that city’s legendary Jeff Awards for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and, with one of her two improv troupes, Best Ensemble. She also performed Sister for four years in Boston and New York.

Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan launched Late Night in 1992. Donovan originated the role, and as she took it to other major cities for long engagements, the company added Sisters to keep each production going. Hannon was the second sister added. As the production expanded nationally, it also added seven sequels. Hannon will perform the original. She’s crazy about it.

“I need to start interacting pretty quickly with the audience,” she says, “and there's a moment when you feel like 'I've got 'em’! Usually when they're stuck up and thinking 'Oh, why the hell did I come here?' those are the fun people.”

There was a time everyone needed a laugh. Hannon performed in New York City right after 9/11. “I was affected by that, as we all were. People had friends missing. How do I come back and … do comedy? I remembered those firemen walking into that building, doing their job. I thought ‘Do your job’. You know I had a lot of images when I walked in that room, but people were so ready to laugh again. They came out and thanked me and hugged me.

“Laughter is important for people.”

Tickets are $37 to $84 via foxtucsontheatre.ticketforce.com. Most performances end with a “collection” of voluntary donations; to date, the shows have raised more than $2 million for local charities that help retired nuns.

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