When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won't be found - a convent. Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior. Using her “fabulous” personality and killer voice to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon it’s nun-on-the-run time but she finds salvation in the heavenly power of her newly found sisterhood.
Based on the mega-hit feature film, “Sister Act” the musical features none of the music from the film. Instead, the newly imagined story keeps its shape and features original music by 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken. The musical styles are diverse, ranging from Motown, soul and funk to great big disco anthems and Barry White inspired musical comedy. Can I get an amen?
Fun for all ages and religious denominations, the North American tour of “Sister Act” has a heavenly cast that will make audience members feel like they are doing anything but sitting in church. As a whole, the company is spirited and truly enjoying their time on stage, making the audience feel like a joyful congregation of laughter, mischief, sinners and saints. The jokes are often campy and delivered tongue-in-cheek, but the characters are so true and loveable that their relationships are solid as the rock of Peter.
Lead Ta’Rea Campbell is a divine Deloris Van Cartier. Her “sinful” spunk and glorious voice make her a character of determination and fierce fabulousness. Instead of an air of cockiness, she exudes the charm of a hopeful diva-to-be in her song “Fabulous, Baby!”, and true acceptance with a powerful peace in “Sister Act”. And although Deloris is an obvious Catholic rule-breaker, her antics are playful and somewhat understandable as opposed to being brought off as disrespectful and outright rude.
Northeast Ohio native Hollis Resnik is a firm power as Mother Superior. She makes one fear the ruler, respect the Ruler, and she brings order to the Order. Her performance brings nuances of humble humanity struggling to pass God’s ultimate test: Deloris. She has a constant connection to the Lord above, as she questions to Him directly throughout the show (which actually provides many of the comical moments.) Ever go to Catholic school? Hollis Resnik’s portrayal makes it seem like she could be one of the nuns barking orders from the head of the classroom! And this nun can sing! Her “Here Within These Walls” and “Haven’t Got a Prayer” numbers show her broad range in both voice and in character.
Other notables include soulful-voiced E. Clayton Cornelious as Eddie Souther (who knew “geek” could also be sexy?), church-mouse-turned-lion Kelly Waters as opening night’s Mary Patrick (that girl has some pipes!), and Strongsville-native Tricia Tanguy, who shines brightly in the ensemble.
Still need some more reasons to see “Sister Act”? Please also go for the dancing henchmen, the Elvis-inspired sermons, the mystically fast costume changes, the Pope in the orchestra pit, the over 12-foot-tall Virgin Mary, and the saintly sequin-fest for the finale. In a nutshell – “Sister Act” is a helluva good time!
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