Executive Producers Whoopi Goldberg, Stage Entertainment and Troika Entertainment just brought us the musical SISTER ACT which I attended on opening night at the glorious Pantages Theater in Hollywood and it was great fun!
It is one of the best musicals I have seen in a very long time. Like everyone else I was aware of the praise that it had received on Broadway, but honestly, I did not imagine how entertaining it was. Sister Act is everything you pray for: hilarious, politically incorrect and a ton of fun. So much so, that if we had these nuns when I was growing up, I probably would have continued attending the Sunday service.
It is a feel-good crowd pleaser for people of all ages and creeds as long as you do not take the nuns seriously. Of course, I have seen the blockbuster movie starring Whoopi and loved it. This play is just as good.
“To hear people laugh and cheer the way they do at SISTER ACT— a show people think they know but are pleasantly surprised to discover is not what they were expecting — is a magical experience for a producer,” says Producer Whoopi Goldberg. “Happily, audiences across the country will be able to get in on the fun this fall when Deloris and her fabulous sisters start spreading the love nationwide.”
For the generation that is not familiar with Sister Act it is based on the Touchstone Pictures motion picture Sister Act written by Joseph Howard.
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 disco-ness and killer voice to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church, but in doing so, she blows her cover. Soon it’s nun-on-the-run time, but she finds salvation in the heavenly power of her newly found sisterhood.
Ta’Rea Campbell (Book of Mormon, Lion King) stars as Deloris Van Cartier. She is brilliant! Gifted with incredible pipes, she absolutely deserves all the praise she is getting. She is supported by Hollis Resnik (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Les Miserables) as Mother Superior, Kingsley Leggs (Sister Act, The Color Purple) as Curtis Jackson, E. Clayton Cornelious (Wonderland, The Scottsboro Boys) as Eddie Souther, Lael Van Keuren (Sister Act) as Mary Robert, Florrie Bagel as Mary Patrick, Diane J. Findlay (42nd Street, Promises, Promises) as Mary Lazarus, Todd A. Horman (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Joey, Ernie Pruneda (Sister Act) as Pablo, Charles Barksdale (Fat Camp) as TJ, and Richard Pruitt (42nd Street, White Christmas) as Monsignor O’Hara. All are equally talented and hysterical.
The cast also includes Melvin Abston, Gisela Adisa, Brian Cali, Karen Elliott, Erin Henry, Jacqui Graziano, Trisha Jeffrey, Mary Jo McConnell, Michelle Rombola, Dawn Rother, Jason Simon, Angie Marie Smith, Tricia Tanguy, Kelly E. Waters, Erin Wilson and Dashaun Young.
The production features an award winning super-talented team with original score and music by composer Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Enchanted), who captured to perfection the various styles from Motown, to soul and funk to disco anthems. Lyrics by Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid), book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner (“Cheers”), additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane (Xanadu, The Little Dog Laughed), direction by Jerry Zaks (Guys and Dolls, A Funny Thing…Forum, Smokey Joe’s Café), with choreography by Anthony Van Laast (Mamma Mia, Bombay Dreams).
With Alan Menken/Glenn Slater’s original score, the musical reflects inspired musical comedy. The costumes designed by Lez Brotherston are an eye catcher, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Ken Travis and hair/wig designs by David Brian Brown. Scenery by Klara Zieglerova, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Ken Travis and hair/wig designs by David Brian Brown. The music department includes Musical Supervisor Michael Kosarin, Music Director Brent-Alan Huffman, and orchestrations by Doug Besterman.
The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm. Opening Night is Tuesday July 9th at 8pm.
Running time: 2 hours and 45 minutes including intermission and is recommended for ages 8 and up.
For more information on SISTER ACT, please visit www.SisterActOnTour.com and www.HollywoodPantages.com for tickets. Orchestra level tickets for SISTER ACT start at just $25. Prices are subject to change without notice.
By Michele Elyzabeth