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Spring comedy featured at Sunflower Theatre in Cortez

Sunflower Theater Troupe actors Hattie Miller and Josie Loner rehearse a scene from “Drinking Habits,” which opens May 13 at the Sunflower Theatre in Cortez. (Courtesy photo)
Cast of locals to perform humorous play about a secret winery run by nuns

The Sunflower Troupe will open its 2022 theater season at the KSJD Sunflower Theatre with “Drinking Habits” a laugh-out-loud farce involving a secret winemaking convent of nuns.

The story by Tom Smith is a lighthearted comedy peppered with accusations, mistaken identities and rekindled romance, according to a Sunflower Troupe news release.

At the convent of the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing, two nuns have been secretly making wine to keep the convent solvent because grape juice sales weren’t successful.

A new nun and a duo of investigative reporters upset daily life as all the sisters suspect that Rome has sent spies looking to shut down the convent. Wine and secrets are inevitably spilled as everyone tries to preserve the convent and reconnect with lost loves.

The play debuted several years ago and has been picked up by community theaters, said Director Steven Free of Cortez.

“It’s lighthearted humor that reminds me of an ’80s sitcom, like ”Three’s Company,“ where there is generally some mixup, then a lot of hilarity ensues,” Free said in an interview with The Journal. “We have a real fine cast that are a mix of experienced actors and actors on stage for the first time.”

The cast includes Cortez locals Susa Kelley, Caro Gomez, Mia Jeremiah, Mary Mundahl, Tom McIntosh, Josie Loner and Dayemon Smith, plus Hattie Miller of Dolores.

The secret wine made by the nuns wins a half-million dollars in prize money from a contest, which triggers an investigation into the source of the windfall by two undercover reporters played by Loner and Miller.

Loner’s character has several different character disguises during the investigation, making for a diverse acting role.

“My power animal is the mockingbird. It fits (because) it can imitate many other birds,” Loner stated in the news release.

Miller plays the other investigator, which she describes as a “clever woman and self-centered brat who undergoes a transformation as a result of the assignment.”

The production promises a lot of laughs, promoters said.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 13, 14, 20 and 21. A matinee is set for 2 p.m. May 22.

Tickets are $18 general admission and are available online at sunflowertheatre.org or at the door. Student tickets are available for the May 22 matinee are $10.