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‘Drinking Habits’ to take Palace Theatre stage

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The Green Earth Players present "Drinking Habits" April 5-7 and 11-14 at the Palace Theatre in Luverne. Cast members are D.J. Leuthje (from left), Colette Hansen, Manda Steensma, Gordie Hansen, David Vis, Elaine Hansen, Terri Ebert and Casey McKenzie. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)2 / 5
Mother Superior (Elaine Hansen) is oblivious to the presence of a pesky investigative reporter Paul (David Vis) as he tries to slip into a closet. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)3 / 5
Sisters Philamena (D.J. Leuthje) and Augusta (Terri Ebert) try to keep their wine-making business a secret while they fear being discovered. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)4 / 5
Sister Mary Catherine (Colette Hansen) and Sally, disguised as Sister Mary Mary (Manda Steensma) share a moment on stage during rehearsals for "Drinking Habits," a Green Earth Players production to be presented April 5-7 and 11-14 at the Palace Theatre, Luverne. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)5 / 5

LUVERNE — The Sisters of Perpetual Sewing are in a dilemma when the grapes from their orchard aren’t yielding enough money to keep the convent afloat.

What else can be made from grapes? Wine, of course!

When Sister Philamena (D.J. Leuthje) and Sister Augusta (Terri Ebert) start producing wine in the basement of the convent — and bringing groundskeeper George (Gordie Hansen) into their scheme — the secrets pile up, the lies roll off the tongue and a comedy takes shape in “Drinking Habits,” the spring production of the Green Earth Players in Luverne.

Sue Sandbulte is returning to direct her third GEP production after a successful spring 2018 presentation of Dixie Swim Club. Coincidentally, all five of the actresses in that show are cast in “Drinking Habits.”

Rounding out the cast of eight are the convent’s newest nun, Sister Mary Catherine (Colette Hansen), Mother Superior (Elaine Hansen), Father Chenille (Casey McKenzie) and reporters Paul (David Vis) and Sally (Manda Steensma).

The reporters arrive on the scene to investigate a possible lead for a story after hearing that a convent is making wine. They take all steps necessary to get to the truth, which means Sally dresses up as Sister Mary Mary and Paul disguises himself as Cardinal Redding.

Meanwhile, Sisters Augusta and Philamena enter their wine in a contest in hopes of winning the half-million dollar prize to save the convent.

“There’s lost loves, lots of secrets, lots of lies,” Sandbulte described of the production. “It’s a comedy or farce, fast-paced. It will have people laughing from the time they get here until the time they leave.”

In fact, Sandbulte said the players are having trouble staying in character because they’re laughing so much.

Though the characters include nuns, a priest and pretend cardinal, Sandbulte said “Drinking Habits” in no way mocks the Catholic church.

“We just want to make it very family friendly,” she said. “It’s a family oriented play — any age can come to it.”

Drinking Habits will be presented at 7:30 p.m. April 5-6 and April 11-13, with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays April 7 and April 14. Tickets are available for purchase by calling (507) 283-4339 or visiting the Palace Theatre box office in downtown Luverne. The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Assistant director is Mary Carroll, producer is Jim Harsma and set-builder is Harlan Stueven.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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