“Mayhem! Gambling! Disco! In ‘Disaster!’ It’s All There for the Spoofing”

Alert the authorities! There’s a wayward nun on the loose in New York City, committing grand larceny eight times a week.

the heaven-sent Ms. Simard

But the breakout star is unquestionably Ms. Simard, playing Sister Mary Downy, a guitar-strumming nun who comes to the boat to convert the partygoers from lives of dissipation (“Gambling is a sin, you’re going to hell, have a nice day,” she tells one), but ends up performing an orgasmic pas de deux with a “Hawaii Five-O”-themed slot machine, to the tune of the disco classic “Never Can Say Goodbye.” (Connoisseurs will recognize Sister Mary as a nod to Helen Reddy’s singing nun in “Airport 1975.”)

Ms. Simard mines the sister’s pious nerdiness for delicious comedy, but really comes into her own when Sister Mary succumbs to her gambling addiction and makes mad love to that machine. No more proof needed that sinning is far more entertaining, and much funnier, than saintliness.

Charles Isherwood, New York Times

Disaster! Review

a magical secret ingredient called Jennifer Simard

Simard is divine as a miserable, gambling-addicted nun; she’s giving one of the funniest musical-comedy performances I’ve seen in years.

Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

‘Disaster!’: Theater Review

In Disaster!, Jennifer Simard plays Sister Mary, a nun who entered the convent to escape her gambling addiction. Midway through the first act, she tries and fails to tear herself and the quarter burning a hole in her habit away from a gleaming new Hawaii Five-O slot machine as she belts out the Gloria Gaynor disco hit, “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Because it’s a great song and because the sublimely funny Simard goes from deadpan dourness to libidinous delirium as the fever overtakes her, the number is a riot.

‘Disaster!’ has the funniest four minutes on Broadway

Luckily, Jennifer Simard returns as Sister Mary, a nun with a gambling addiction. Her rendition of “Never Can Say Goodbye” while fondling a “Hawaii Five-O” slot machine is the single funniest four minutes in town

Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post

‘Disaster!’ isn’t one

Last but not least, Jennifer Simard plays a guitar-strumming nun who’s married to God but deep into gambling. Her duet with a slot machine while belting — what else? — “Torn Between Two Lovers” is a little bit of comedy heaven. She sails away with this “Disaster!”

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News

All Aboard the Cheerfully Campy Musical ‘Disaster!’

Jennifer Simard quietly steals scenes as a deadpan singing nun with a gambling addiction, and brings down the house performing an increasingly lascivious version of “Never Can Say Goodbye” to a slot machine.

Jennifer Farrar, Associated Press

Disaster-Movie Spoof ‘Disaster!’

Although not particularly glitzy or glam, this is a good cast that knows the comic ropes — and then some, in the special case of Jennifer Simard, who shows great comic chops as a nun with a secret gambling fixation. “Holy Mary Mother of God,” she exclaims when she gets a load of the one-armed bandit on the Barracuda. “That’s not just any slot machine — that’s the new ‘Hawaii Five-O’ themed TX 420. They’re made in Monaco and they’re top of the line.” And despite her pledge (“I never had a gambling addiction!”), she falls to her knees and worships this golden idol.  (Cue the “Hawaii 5-0 Theme”)

Simard relishes the icky song (“Torn Between Two Lovers”) that captures the little nun’s spiritual struggle between the ecstasy of faith and the thrill of gambling. (“Never Can Say Goodbye” pretty much settles that conflict.)

Marilyn Stasio, Variety

This ’70s disco jukebox musical has heart and soul

Jennifer Simard … deliriously stops the show with her versions of Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” and Mary MacGregor’s “Torn Between Two Lovers” — the two lovers in this case being Jesus and a slot machine 

Christopher Kelly, NJ.com

‘Disaster!’ review: Roger Bart in silly 1970s movie parody

breakthrough performances come from less familiar actors — Jennifer Simard, finding freshness in the idea of a gambling nun

Linda Winer, Long Island Newsday

New musical ‘Disaster!’ is a little tacky, a little slapstick, but not a total disaster

Best of all, though, is Simard’s Sister Mary, a guitar-toting scold who cries “shame” at her shipmates’ vices while harboring a secret yearning to shout “Blackjack!”

Peter Marks, Washington Post

‘The Poseidon Adventure’ With Songs and Fewer Laughs

Jennifer Simard’s droll nun is a delight. Her making love to a slot machine is the musical’s one showstopper

Robert Hofler, The Wrap

Disaster! – review

Only when the nun sings … does it really pay off, and that’s not so much because of the joke itself … as because of Jennifer Simard’s brilliant underplaying.

Jesse Green, New York Magazine

Gloria Gaynor on Obama, Beyonce, How Disco Could Have Ended Terrorism — Singer also talks new ‘Disaster!’ musical, why she’ll never get sick of “I Will Survive”

In fact, the musical includes another of her hits, “Never Can Say Goodbye,” which the singer admits she feels is too-often overlooked. It’s also one of the highlights of Disaster!, with a guitar-playing nun (a hilarious Jennifer Simard) singing her undying love to a Hawaii-Five-O-themed slot machine.

“I was surprised they did so much of it,” she says. “And even did a reprise.

Jerry Portwood, Rolling Stone

Tony Awards 2016: Snubs and Surprises

the disco-fueled disaster musical was appropriately honored the way it should have been: Through the vessel of Jennifer Simard, the show-stopping, gambling nun, who, thankfully, got her due. Praise.

Marc Snetiker, Entertainment Weekly

The 2016 Tony Nominations: Not All About the Hamiltons

Among all these heavy-hitters, there are reminders throughout the categories of the season’s grace notes. Jennifer Simard (nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical) is irresistible as a gambling-addicted nun in the spoofy “Disaster!”

Michael Shulman, The New Yorker

See Broadway’s Disaster! before it closes this weekend

Disaster! is a hoot, and worth catching before it shuffles off this Broadway coil. It shouldn’t be hard to get cheap tickets, and you will never forget Jennifer Simard’s breakout performance as a depressed, guitar-playing, falling-prone, gambling-addicted nun; her version of “Never Can Say Goodbye,” delivered next to a slot machine, is the stuff of musical-comedy legend. (Simard nabbed a well-deserved Tony nomination yesterday for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.).

Adam Feldman, Time Out New York