It’s a lot of Nunsense, this nun on the run shtick.
What made the movie Sister Act (and its delightful sequel) so habit-forming was the presence of Whoopi Goldberg, playing a nightclub-singer-turned-material-witness forced to hide in a convent after witnessing a killing. She pulled out every dreadlock to make the film fun, funny and, with her extraordinary co-stars, heavenly bliss.
Sister Act the musical has Whoopi’s presence all over it; she’s not in it, she’s the producer, but the musical never achieves the movie’s magical charm. None of the film’s original familiar music is used; here Alan Menken has written some of his least memorable music, though at least two of lyricist Glenn Slater’s songs are awfully touching.
The biggest problem here, and Lord help them, was the decision to have Florrie Bagel (great name) and Diane Findlay, who play Sisters Mary Patrick and Sister Mary Lazarus, flawlessly mimic Kathy Najimy and Mary Wickes, who created the film roles. It’s as if we are reminded, over and over again, “Hi! Whoopi is not here. But listen, Mary and Kathy are!”
Forgive them father for they do not know what they do.
There’s some nifty choreography by Anthony Van Laast, and Jerry Zaks keep the action moving faster than the sweatiest R&B gig at the Apollo.
Devout Catholics will be offended by the language and actions, gay and transvestites have a right to be angry for being the target of too many jokes.
Little things still nag at me: An opening scene straight out of Dreamgirls (including a manager named Curtis); a reference to Diahann Carroll that, even in the show’s time frame, is as relevant as a stale communion wafer. And please someone, why are the sisters worshipping an inflatable glittered-dusted Virgin Mary? I may be a recovering Catholic, but isn’t it JC and his Dad to whom we turn?
Great voices and drag queen costumes do not a musical made. It must be tough on Whoopi wannabe Ta’rea Campbell who can belt her way to heaven, but who cannot combine the sense of hilarity and humanity her character (and the show) sorely need . . . and which Goldberg had. Attending the two-and- a-hour half Sister Act is amusing venial sin. But when the last
Hallelujah is hailed, and the wimples shrouded with more sequins ever found in Sister Mary Liza’s closet, are packed away, it will be easy to get thee away from a nunnery.
Bad girl Bynes
Amanda Bynes was arrested after throwing a bong out a window.More crazy antics