What makes “Sister Act” based on the 1992 film comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg (who is now one of the producers) so enjoyable and entertaining, aside from its tuneful, original 1970’s infused sounding score by Alan Menken (music) and Glenn Slater (especially smart and character driven lyrics) is the star quality performances of its charming and multi talented foes Patina Miller as Delores Van Cartier a night club singer on the run who seeks safety in the all white convent of the very straight laced Victoria Clark as Mother Superior whose faith is tested by her reluctance and then acceptance to protect this eccentric, outspoken black woman who has seen Curtis (her married and abusive boyfriend) murder someone on the streets of brotherly love – South Philadelphia, Pa.
You might know from the onset where all this is headed but getting there is where all the fun lies. Especially when Delores is put in charge of the motley group of nuns that make up the choir not especially known for their singing abilities, shares her experience and talent as a singer and changes the sound, the repertoire and the lives of all involved. It’s a tale of hope and change and love that will leave you cheering everyone on.
The very amusing and oft times touching book is written by Cheri & Bill Steinkellner with a little bit of divine intervention by Douglas Carter Beane who has infused his identifiable stamp on the proceedings.
Jerry Zaks has directed “Sister Act” exceptionally well. The fluid sets created by Klara Zieglerova keep the action moving swiftly and smoothly and there is an eye popping stained glass cathedral where the sisters in all their resplendent and be-sequined habits perform the show stopping finale for Pope Paul VI – with fabulous choreography by Anthony Van Laast. Spectacular lighting design by Natasha Katz, surprising costumes by Lez Brotherston and superior sound by John Shivers make “Sister Act” glow.
The villain of the piece – nightclub owner, Delores’ boyfriend and thug Curtis Jackson (Kingsley Leggs) sings as smoothly as he operates. With his three henchmen in tow (Joey – John Treacy Egan, Pablo – Caesar Samayoa and TJ his nephew Demond Green) they pursue the runaway Delores and score big with “Lady in the Long Black Dress”.
Monsignor O’Hara who is on the threshold of having to sell the church because of poor receipts and attendance to “a couple of bachelors dealing in antiques” learns to love the new music, much to the annoyance of Mother Superior and has his own wonderful transformation. As does Mary Robert (Marla Mindelle) who shines in “The Life I Never Led”.
Victoria Clark’s heavenly voice and wicked sense of comic timing perfectly match the exuberance and feistiness of Delores – Patina Miller who is now the newest star of Broadway musicals – giving Sutton Foster a neck and neck run for the Tony Award.
Sweaty Eddie – (Chester Gregory) has had a crush on Delores since high school. He’s the cop put in charge of protecting her and has a great twist on “When I Find My Baby” that Curtis originally sings. He is terrific and we root for him and Delores to finally get together. Will they? Or will Curtis shoot her dead? Oh come on, it’s a musical where everyone has a happy ending. “Sister Act” is divine. It’s heavenly. It should run till kingdom come.
www.sisteractbroadway.com Photo: Joan Marcus
Tags: No Comments