Artist O’ the Week: Denise Fennell!

9 Feb

Denise Fennell stars as Sister in Late Nite CatechismHoly Moly! This week’s AotW, DENISE (MARIE CHRISTINA) FENNELL plays “Sister” in the Late Nite Catechism series, and prior to this, Stages fans most recently saw her in last spring’s Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go To Heaven?

Denise is originally from Boston, MA, where she grew up in a very strict Italian Catholic neighborhood, often attending mass with her Grandma Bianca on a daily basis. Denise currently calls both Los Angeles and New York City home. Some of you may recognize Denise from Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding, in which she frequently appears in the title role of Tina. Maripat Donovan discovered Denise as Tina in her white wedding dress, blue eye shadow and her hair sprayed so high it almost reached heaven. Maripat apparently saw something that led her to believe there was a nun lurking somewhere behind the gum chewing, wise-cracking bride. All kidding aside, Denise would like to thank Maripat for believing in her and for being patient while Denise took the time to believe in herself. It is with great honor that she trades her wedding dress in for a habit, and instead of Tony chooses to marry God.

And Sister spoke all these words, saying: “I am the Lord your Nun, who brought Laughter out of the land of Houston, out of the house of The Stages Theatre.

I shall have no other Sisters before me at Stages Theatre. It would be heartbreaking. I love to perform for the audiences here in Houston, and simply love Stages Theatre. Everyone at Stages has come to feel like Family to me. Love you all xoxo

You shall not make for yourself late for my class at Stages or chew gum or drink water or talk to your neighbor, or CLIP YOUR NAILS!!!

I shall share 3 secrets with you that happen right before performing the role of Sister. I have terrible stage fright, I tie my shoes over and over, and I convince myself right before I go on stage that someone has stolen my personality and that maybe I am not funny anymore.


For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. In the last 6 days I have slept is 4 different beds, unpacked and packed 12 times, performed 3 different versions of The Late Nite Series, had a number of dance parties in various rent-a-cars, dreamed of being Annie, visited a convent, learned magic, searched for alligators in the Everglades, watched a beautiful sunset, run full speed through the Atlanta airport (only to miss the plane) had about 80 cups of coffee, been to 8 different Targets in 4 different cities looking for white tanks, out-ed a friend on Facebook for being a fan of The Bachelorette. I have laughed, cried, hoped and prayed and continue to Dream all is Possible. I have also talked to myself, answered myself, jumped a fence, came face to face with a racoon, and walked home in the rain with no shoes. And on my Seventh day been sure to give thanks to Maripat Donovan, the Creator of the Late Nite Catechism Series, for believing in me and choosing me to be “Sister”.

Honor your father and your mother. Always this commandment is a given where I was raised. I’m Italian Catholic from Boston. My mother wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides she still has her wooden spoon and knows how to use it.

You shall not murder. This commandment scares me. Please be kind to others. A smile and hello can change someones day : )

You shall not commit adultery. I think some people like Weiner and Tiger and Schwarzenegger must have missed this one. HELLO Arnold, Maria is a Kennedy. I can assure you, that you won’t be back!!!

You shall not steal. I hope sampling in the supermarket and raiding the housekeepers’ carts in hotels don’t count.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. I don’t really have any neighbors. Do the people who live next door to me in Hotels count?

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. Oh boy, Todd. I think we better bring that Donkey back that we stole after too many cocktails at the Guava Lamp (a local bar here in Houston) on Friday Night.

Tickets for Denise can be seen in Late Nite Catecism at Stages Repertory Theatre through March 4. Tickets are available (but go quickly!) at 713.527.0123 or online
Suggestions or comments about the AotW? Email Eva at elaporte@stagestheatre.com.

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