It was hardly nunsense at Tuesday’s opening night for “High” at the Booth Theater. Nonetheless, Kathleen Turner’s turn as foul-mouthed Sister Jamison Connelly drew cheers from first-nighters Michael Douglas, Elaine Stritch and others.
Turner didn’t visit Catholic convents to research her nun. “Of course she’s real, but all I need is in the script,” she said of Matthew Lombardo’s play.
How would her fans rate Turner’s nun? That was the question at the SD26 afterparty.
“I like bad nuns,” said John Waters, citing Luis Bunuel’s Viridiana. “Kathleen and Viridiana could have a wrestling match and we would see who would win. They were both very holy and disappointed.”
Tovah Feldshuh’s favorite nun growing up was Audrey Hepburn in “The Nun’s Story.” As for Turner’s nun, “It’s very difficult to be excellent and original and Kathleen was both,” Feldshuh said.
Evan Jonigkeit, who essays the play’s teenage junkie, loved Sally Field. ” ‘The Flying Nun.’ That’s my childhood favorite. Kathleen is my adult favorite nun. She’s a knockout,” he said.
Turner had a nude scene in “The Graduate”; now it’s Jonigkeit’s turn.
“I’m very thankful for that,” Turner said with a smile.
“I’ve never had a second thought about it,” Jonigkeit said of going naked on stage. “It’s developed to the point to where it’s another costume for me. My parents came tonight to see me for the first time, which was wild. They knew when to shut their eyes if they wanted.” — Stephen Schaefer