Sister Act Brings Pure Joy to the Stage

The plot and details may be the same as the movie, but imagine every scene set to a song-and-dance number and comedy ensues.


Published:

The sisterhood on stage.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Even if you’ve seen the 1992 movie Sister Act several times, the musical, now playing at Providence Performing Arts Center April 9−14, will bring something new to the stage. The plot and details may be the same as the film, but imagine every scene set to a song-and-dance number and comedy ensues. The musical received five 2011 Tony Award nominations, is produced by Whoopi Goldberg and directed by Jerry Zaks, and features an original score by Grammy and Golden Globe Award-winning composer Alan Menken.

I won’t ruin it for you, but there are some truly hilarious one-liners sprinkled throughout the play. These are not the predictable puns that are common in musicals, but laugh-out-loud lines that often push the envelope. Then there’s the show-stopping talent of Ta’Rea Campbell, who plays the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier – pronounced like the jeweler – and she successfully fills the shoes of Whoopi Goldberg, who played the role in the original film version. The range and power of her voice is so astounding, it’s possible she could command the stage without the need for a microphone.

In case you need a refresher, the story follows Deloris, a night club singer who witnesses a murder committed by her lover, Curtis Jackson, and she flees to the police station for help. There, she reunites with an old high school acquaintance, nicknamed Sweaty Eddie, and he helps her disappear by joining a convent. Deloris packs away her sequins and “FM boots” and hides her ostentatious self in a nun’s habit. She shakes up the solemn sisterhood by joining the choir and teaching the other nuns how to let their freak flags fly. Before long, the choir fills the church with worshippers eager to take in the lively performances at the altar. The black and white robes are replaced with colorful gowns, and the talent helps the church earn much-needed funds to keep the doors open. There’s only one problem; Deloris’s identity is hard to keep a secret at the church when all the local news stations start coming around. Curtis catches on, and soon he’s hot on her trail with his gang of cronies by his side.

Another incredible performance is given by E. Clayton Cornelious, a.k.a. Sweaty Eddie. He’s a true underdog who has a long way to go before he gains the confidence needed to be a real police officer. Guarding Deloris gives him an incentive to be fearless, and soon he evolves into the role of a true protector. There are also many standout nuns in the cast, from a shy postulant with an incredible voice to a bouncy, cheerful sister who has a whole lot of personality, and then there’s the elderly nun who could challenge Lil Wayne to a freestyle rap battle.

Another highlight of the show is the must-see set design. The fading stained glass windows transform into the stuff of technicolor dreams, and even the gigantic Mary statue gets in on the fun. With flashing lights and sparkles, sequins and glitter everywhere, “Sister Act” shines on.

Sister Act runs through April 14 at Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St., Providence. Tickets are available through the box office at 421-2787 or online at ppacri.org.



If you’re into this blog wait until you see what’s inside Rhode Island Monthly each month.
Only $1.50 per issue when you sign up for a year. Visit the Subscription Center.

 

 



 

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

You might enjoy reading...

Behind the Scenes with Stars from Bullets Over Broadway

We spoke with actors Michael Williams and Jemma Jane about their roles in the musical, now showing at PPAC.

Behind the Scenes with Stars from Jersey Boys

We spoke with Matthew Dailey and Drew Seeley about their roles in the musical, now showing at PPAC.

Elmo and Cookie Monster Make Meeting Street Kids Smile

The beloved characters stopped by the school to spread some joy before Sesame Street Live: Let’s Dance hits PPAC.

Central Falls High School Students See Sound of Music

Learn It to Earn It is a partnership between PPAC and Rhode Island Monthly that enables inner city students to experience a Broadway show.

Free Play Helps Families and Friends Facing Addiction

Four Legs to Stand On questions society’s views on addiction by normalizing open discussion around the topic.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

28 Best Seafood Restaurants in Rhode Island

15 Great Playgrounds in Rhode Island

Create your own park tour and hit up several of these sweet spots for kids in one day.

Entertaining with Claudine

Claudine Pepin and Rollie Wesen throw a backyard dinner party — one for the books — at their home in Barrington.

15 Spots for Mother's Day Brunch

How many times has mom made you breakfast? This year, repay her with a morning meal she'll remember.

Your Rhode Island Foodie Bucket List

Fifty-nine culinary experiences you need to have before you die.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
 


 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
×