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'Late Nite Cate-chism 2' coming to Holmes today

"Sister is back! And so are the nun-stop laughs."

This colorful play on words is being used to advertise the His-toric Holmes Theatre's presentation of a live performance of the one-person play, "Late Nite Catechism 2," comes to the stage of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre on today (Thursday, Jan. 18) at 7:30 p.m. Sister has assembled banners, filmstrips, historical facts and hysterical insights as she conducts an overview of heaven and hell, comparing them to a Catholic version of "Chutes and Ladders."

Nonie Newton Breen, who plays the role of "Sister," explains further: "This show is about the sacrament of penance -- how to get to heaven and avoid hell."

Though the original version of "Late Night Catechism" was presented in DL several years ago, Breem herself has never visited the community before. In fact, though Mary Pat Donovan created the role, there are several other actresses who are now being asked to play the role of "Sister.

Set in a typical classroom at a Catholic school, "Late Nite Catechism 2" is "reminiscent of what students would have seen in the 1950s or 60s. The stage is also set up, however, so that Nonie can go directly out into the audience to interact with them, as her de facto students.

"We really break the fourth wall," Breem says. "Most thea-ter is very presentational but we (the actresses who portray Sister) interact with the audience throughout the show. It's a one-woman show, but I don't ever feel like I'm up there by myself, because the audience is participating."

Because of this interactive element, the show "never goes the same way twice," she adds. "You could see two shows back to back, and they would be completely different, because they're completely different audiences."

Though it's a two-hour show, including a 15-minute intermission, Breem says, "It goes quickly."

"People really get the flavor of the show right away -- they like to push the envelope, to misbehave (and thus, might in-cur a bit of a tongue-lashing from Sister)," Breem says. "What I'm proud of is that it's good, clean fun -- and we don't make fun of the church.

"We don't mock religion at all -- we sort of celebrate it. This is a show you could take your grandmother or your 16-year-old daughter to see, and not worry about the language being blue. Have fun without being corny. People really do laugh, and there's always someone who says thank you on the way out."

Breem has been portraying Sister for six of the 11 years of "Late Nite Catechism" -- and now, its two spin-off projects, "Late Nite Catechism 2" and "Sister's Christmas Catechism." In 2006, she received an Ovation Award for her performance of "Sister's Christmas Catechism" in Denver.

"I've been banging around in the business for a long, long time," Breem says. "Being on stage is exciting -- I've done independent films, sitcoms, soap operas, and (filming) is really a case of hurry up and wait. It's not the same emotional charge you get from being in front of an audience -- it's really fun to get out there and perform to a live audience."

As for getting tired of playing the same character over and over, Breem says she hasn't yet.

"I'm 56 years old," she says, bluntly. "If I was in Hollywood going on auditions ... you don't work that much. (In the entertainment business), you're old at 20 -- but I'm doing what I love, doing what I was trained to do, and I'm having a ball. This is a mitzvah, a blessing, having a great time."

Advance tickets for the Thursday show are $18 for adults, $9 for students; day of show tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Call the Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844 SHOW (7469) for more info, or order tickets online at

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454