Sister Act: The Musical
Broadway Across America in conjunction with the Broward Center is currently presenting "Sister Act: The Musical" in the Au-Rene Theater.
The musical tells the story of showgirl Deloris Van Cartier who runs afoul of her gangster boyfriend Curtis when she witnesses him murder one of his associates. She is compelled to hide in a convent by local police officer Eddie, who also happens to have had a crush on Deloris since high school. Much to the consternation of the Mother Superior of the convent, Deloris charms her way into the hearts of the nuns and turns their awful choir into a soul singing sensation.
Purists who love the movie will find that the locale has changed from Reno and San Francisco of the present day to Philadelphia of the 1970s. This change is in support of Alan Menken’s score which is very reminiscent of the great Philadelphia soul sounds of producers Gamble & Huff and many others.
The score is infectious and very hummable and Glenn Slater’s lyrics are witty and clever. While the book, written by Cheri & Bill Steinkellner with additional material from Douglas Carter Beane, at times grossly simplifies the plot of the original movie, it is still humorous and moves the story along quickly.
This production is stellar from top to bottom. Klara Ziegloerova’s scenic design works hand in hand with Lez Brotherston’s costumes to convey Disco-era Philadelphia and the inside of a Catholic Convent and Church. The amount of glitter, sequins, liquid lame and metallic surfaces in the second act is brilliant, beautiful and occasionally retina burning. The lighting design by Natasha Katz shows off the brilliance of the sets, costumes and performances while being unobtrusive and subtle.
This excellent cast is led by Ta’rea Campbell as Deloris and Hollis Resnik as the Mother Superior, both giving outstanding performances, much to the delight of the first-night audience.
Original Broadway Cast members Lael Van Keuren (Mary Robert) and Kingsley Leggs (Curtis Jackson) gave outstanding performances and their respective solo numbers were highlights of the first act.
E. Clayton Cornelious (Eddie Souther) achieved spectacular costume changes while accomplishing vocal acrobatics during his song "I Could Be That Guy." The rousing finale, "Spread the Love Around" earned a well-deserved standing ovation from the opening night audience.
The quality of this tour of "Sister Act: The Musical" is on par with any big budget Broadway show. It is a delight from start to finish and will leave you humming it’s catchy tunes. It is the perfect feel-good musical for this holiday season.