Laugh away your sins

When actress Maripat Donovan and writer Vickie Quade penned "Late Nite Catechism" in 1993, they didn't expect the show to become one of the longest-running hit comedies in history.

Donovan originally played the role of Sister, the irrepressible and authoritarian nun who teaches the doctrine of the Catholic Church to her class. Donovan was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award in New York City for outstanding solo performance.

Over the first few years, the script changed frequently as Donovan and Quade created new jokes and scripted ad libs. Quade went on to produce the show in Chicago in 2000, and she was nominated for a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award.

"Late Nite Catechism" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

Actress Kim Richards will play the role of Sister at the Craterian. About 15 actresses from across the country play the role of Sister in the show, and each actress brings her own experience to the material.

The show's premise is the audience members are attending Sister's class, which uses improvisational comedy to educate, entertain and poke fun at the policies of the Catholic Church.

"Even though we have a script, I've never done the same show twice," states Richards in a press release. "There is a huge repeat audience due to the fact that people know that something different happens every night."

Richards, who lives in San Francisco, attended Catholic school when she was younger. She draws from her experience for the role.

Some might consider the show irreverent, but nuns are some of the show's biggest fans. A collection is taken at the end of each show to benefit local orders of retired nuns. Richards will be in the Craterian lobby to collect donations to benefit the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

Tickets for the show at the Craterian cost $32, $35 and $38; $23, $26 and $29 for ages 18 and younger. Tickets may be purchased at the box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., Medford; or by calling 541-779-3000.

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