“Sister Act” uplifts the musical soul
The touring musical updates the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg film, moving it to the '70s disco era, but keeps its soulful charm.
Sometimes you must run away to become the person you were meant to be. And sometimes you are forced to run away and hide because your gangster boyfriend committed a murder and you were a witness to the crime. Sister Act blends both, and the resulting musical adventure into the world of faith is a runaway success at the Marcus Center this week.
The stage adaptation changes a few small things. We move from San Francisco to Philadelphia, which really didn’t affect the show. Composer Alan Menken changed time periods to slightly update the production from the soulful ‘60s and Motown sounds to the disco fever era of the ‘70s. This definitely gave the musical a little different feel but still worked wonderfully when paired with the sounds of gospel music. The large pit band under the direction of Brent Alan-Huffman successfully took us right back to the time of heavy soul and powerful disco beats. The clever jokes about the time period added to the music by lyricist Glenn Slater keep the laughs coming throughout the show.
Disco diva Deloris Van Cartier (played by powerhouse vocalist Ta’Rea Campbell) is put in protective custody in the last place that she could possibly be found – a convent. The nuns of the convent graciously take her in, even though Mother Superior is hesitant and remains that way for most of the production. Deloris must do a 180 to attempt to fit in to her new lifestyle but still finds a way to remain her true self; through her music. Mother Superior is constantly butting heads with Deloris and is frustrated so she punishes her by making her join the church choir. Instantly she jumps on the opportunity and happily starts working with the nuns to help them find their voices, in her own unique way of course.
A packed house of all ages at the Marcus Center gave the cast a standing ovation Tuesday night. Sister Act definitely warms your heart and uplifts your musical spirit. Its an amazing production that shows you what friendship and little soul can do.
Sister Act plays at the Marcus Center (Uhlein Hall, 929 N. Water Street) February 19-24. Tickets can be purchased at marcuscenter.org or by calling 414/273-7206.