PHOTO: The touring production of “Sister Act” is playing at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in
“Sister Act” (4½ stars out of 5) is quite the fantasy: A wannabe disco queen who is witness to a murder by her slick-and-mean boyfriend is hidden by the Philadelphia police in a convent/church that’s about to close – and glittery Deloris Van Cartier saves all with her infectious musicality. Could happen. Really. Honest. It would have to be a
- Three gangsters who are chasing Deloris Van Cartier settle in at a bar across the street from the church where she’s hiding. One grumbles that their finding her is as likely as her walking in the door shouting “Merry Christmas!” – which she does, dressed as a nun.
- Curtis Jackson, Deloris Van Cartier’s bad-apple boyfriend sings a soul-style song, “When I Find My Baby,” that sounds romantic but is anything but. When lyricist Glenn Slater playfully tosses in “eviscerate” (to disembowel), you know that’s not love. On top of it, as the song develops, Curtis Jackson (Melvin Abston) and his three henchmen pour on the slick dance maneuvers of disco-soul singers of the era. There’s more merry mocking later when the three henchmen (Tad Wilson, Chris Chatman and Charles Barksdale) get into “Lady in the Long Black Dress” and show off their irresistible lady-killer A-material for wooing nuns. Funny? Man, my face hurts from smiling as I write this.
- The nuns. Ah, the nuns. The writers are merciless when they go through the virtues (not) of nun-dom in the song “It’s Good to be a Nun.” The satire is deep and rich. Musically, the nun ensemble goes from squeaking worse than a creaking door to sounding gospel-glorious, so much so that the nuns’ souped-up singing – sparkly habits and all – attracts the attention of the pope, who wants to see them on a visit to
- Back near the start, when Deloris Van Cartier sweeps into the police station seeking help, she connects again with one of her high school classmates. Turns out that “Sweaty Eddie” (Chester Gregory) had a crush on her. The character develops in layers – literally – being dumpy and suave in the song “I Could Be That Guy.”
- A turn in the postulant nun Mary Robert (Ashley Moniz) is pleasantly predictable – the squeaky-voiced, withdrawn creature to the confident being with a soaring sound in “The Life I Never Led.”
The show is spiced by all-out razzmatazz production numbers.
Interested? Information is at www.foxcitiespac.org.
Creative: Composer – Alan Menken; lyrics – Glenn Slater; book – Cheri and Bill Steinkellner; additional book material – Douglas Carter Beane; director – Jerry Zaks; conductor – Brent-Alan Huffman; scenic design – Klara Zieglerova; costume design – Lez Brotherston; choreographer – Anthony Van Laast.
Cast: Deloris Van Cartier - Ta’rea Campbell; Michelle - Gisela Adisa; Tina - Mary Searcy; Curtis Jackson - Melvin Abston; Joey - Tad Wilson; Pablo - Chris Chatman; TJ - Charles Barksdale; Ernie - Paul Nygro; Eddie Souther - Chester Gregory; Cop - Brian M. Love; Mother Superior - Hollis Resnik; Monsignor O’Hara - Richard Pruitt; Mary Robert - Ashley Moniz; Mary Patrick - Florrie Bagel; Mary Lazarus - Roberta B. Wall; Mary Martin-of-Tours - Amy Persons; Mary Theresa - Karen Elliott; Waitress - Natalie Storrs; Joey Finnochio - Chris Cooke; Ensemble - Gisela Adisa, Chris Cooke, Karen Elliott, Stephanie Hayslip, Brian M. Love, Micaela Martinez, Paul Nygro, Amy Persons, Dawn Rother, Mary Searcy, Jessica Sheridan, Natalie Storrs, Kelly E. Waters, Dashaun Young.
“Take Me to Heaven,” Deloris, Michelle, Tina
“Fabulous, Baby!” Deloris, Michelle, Tina
“Here Within These Walls,” Mother Superior, Deloris
“It’s Good to Be a Nun,” Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, Nuns
“When I Find My Baby,” Curtis, Joey, Pablo, TJ
“I Could Be That Guy,” Eddie, Bums
“Raise Your Voice,” Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, Nuns
“Take Me to Heaven” (Reprise), Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, Nuns
“Sunday Morning Fever,” Deloris, Mother Superior, Monsignor O’Hara, Eddie,
Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, Nuns, Workers
“Lady in the Long Black Dress,” Joey, Pablo, TJ
“Haven’t Got a Prayer,” Mother Superior
“Bless Our Show,” Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, Nuns
“The Life I Never Led,” Mary Robert
“Fabulous, Baby!” (Reprise), Deloris, Eddie, Nuns, Fantasy Dancers
“Sister Act,” Deloris
“When I Find My Baby” (Reprise), Curtis
“The Life I Never Led” (Reprise), Mary Robert
“Sister Act” (Reprise), Deloris, Mother Superior, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, Nuns
“Spread the Love Around,” The Company
VENUE: Thrivent Financial Hall is the main theater of Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on
THE NAME: Thrivent Financial has roots in a life insurance company that was chartered in 1902 as Aid Association for Lutherans, based in
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