Goheen to Bring New Twist to Picketwire Classic

By: Ashley Jo Kelley

The Picketwire Center for Performing and Visual arts is set to open their Christmas show
“Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical” on December 13th under the direction of
Picketwire veteran Desiree Goheen. The show follows the nuns of Mount Saint Helen’s Abbey
and their pupils as they attempt to tape a TV Christmas special. Filled with singing, jokes and a
kick line of Nuns, hilarity ensues. This production will be the fourth installment in the Nunsense
saga to be brought to the Picketwire stage. The first play in the Nunsense series, aptly titled
“Nunsense” was performed on the Picketwire stage in July 1991. The play was such a hit, that
the Picketwire players decided to perform “Nunsense II, The Second Coming” four years later in
1995. The most recent installment, “Nunsense Jamboree” was performed in May 2000. Now, 18
years later, Desiree Goheen has selected “Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical” to
cap Picketwire’s 50th season. In addition to being Pickewire’s 152nd show, this musical will
mark another milestone at the theater. For many in the community, the names Salzbrenner and
Goheen have become synonymous with Picketwire’s summer musicals. “Nuncrackers” will be
their 10 th collaboration together, with one notable difference. This is the first production where
the team’s roles will be reversed, with Goheen taking the lead as director, and Salzbrenner
functioning as her assistant director. However, this departure from the norm, the team insists,
is in title only. Both Goheen and Salzbrenner are quick to highlight their creative chemistry and
complementary directing styles. They have long viewed themselves as a team, where the duties
of director and assistant director commingle. “We work really well together; our partnership
has always been so easy. I really respect how Desiree handles moving from one aspect of the
show to another,” shared Salzbrenner. For her part, Goheen shares the same sentiment,
stating, “We are so in synch, we finish each other’s sentences.”

When asked what drew her to this show, Goheen stated, “We have always heard how much fun
people have had with Nunsense in the past. We thought it would be nice to bring some fun and
lightheartedness into the 50th season, by bringing a fresh take to this beloved storyline. I’m
drawn to shows with audience interaction, and enjoy breaking the fourth wall.” Attendees can
expect singing, dancing, and plenty of audience interaction. Goheen shared that she hopes that
“Nuncrackers” can help kick off the holiday season for theatergoers. “This is a show that you
can feel good about seeing. You can leave the theater feeling happy in your spirit,” shared
Goheen. To add even more enjoyment to an already entertaining show, Salzbrenner and
Goheen shared that they have added some “easter eggs” to this production. Audience
members with a well-trained eye can spot homages to past Picketwire plays hidden in the
costumes, set and props of “Nuncrackers.” The duo stressed that theatergoers do not need to
be familiar with past “Nunsense” shows. “ We are encouraging the audience to think of this as
more of a “reboot” and less of a continued story. It’s the same tradition, new faces,” stated
Salzbrenner shared that she was happy to see that they had a cast with many fresh faces.
“Having new players join in is what keeps this community theater going,” stated
Salzbrenner. It’s fascinating to see the younger generation come into the theater and learn
from the experience of others,” stated Goheen. Goheen and Salzbrenner both expressed
satisfaction at having a diverse troupe of performers and technicians that truly mirror the wider
community. Salzbrenner shared that she feels a great sense of pride in being a part of
Picketwire’s legacy. “We are celebrating our 50th year. That means that for 50 years volunteers
have worked hard to keep the doors of the theater open. We are very lucky to have a place to
do the thing we love, bringing theater to life. It’s a big challenge, but that is part of what make
theater so much fun. It is always changing,” stated Salzbrenner. “We are hopeful that this
theater will be around for another fifty years,” concluded Goheen.

Performance dates for “Nuncrackers” are December 13th , 14th and 15th at 7:30 PM. Tickets are
$15.00. Tickets can be purchased online at picketwireplayers.org/tickets, by calling 384-8320,
or by stopping by the box office at 802 San Juan. Box office hours are from 5:30-7:00 PM
Monday through Friday.