Tuesday, December 25, 2012
When was the last time you saw nuns do a Radio Music Hall line kick routine or were warned that taking pictures in a theatre is a sin? Never? Get over to the Broward Performing Arts Center during the next two weeks and you will. Okay so they don’t kick as high as the Rockettes but then the Rockettes don’t wear the many different habits like the nuns in “Sister Act” do. From every metallic color to dripping sequins these nuns change habits like drag queens change outfits at Lips.
“Sister Act--the Musical” takes place in the disco-Philly soul era and has a completely original score with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater that help move the plot along and give the nuns a few gospel songs to raise the roof and save the church from being sold. The basic premise is that second rate entertainer Deloris Van Cartier (Ta’rea Campbell) has witnessed her married gangster lover, Curtiss Jackson, (Kingsley Leggs) kill a man and a policeman Eddie Souther (E. Clayton Cornelious), who had a childhood crush on Delores, hides her in a convent until she can testify against Curtiss. The show is about the effect she has on the nuns and the insights the nuns bring to her about herself plus the constant run in she has with the Mother Superior (Hollis Resnik).
It takes a few minutes to buy Campbell as Delores but even with just one solo number she sells the part in her way. Lael Van Keuren, as novitiate Mary Robert, has the knock your socks off number “The Life I Never Lead”. Joey (Todd A. Horman), Pablo (Ernie Pruneda) and TJ (Charles Barksdale) has the audience laughing with “ Lady In THe Long Black Dress” while the closing company number “Spread The Love Around” almost blasts the roof off the Performing Arts Center. Cornelious, singing “I Could Be That guy”, invokes Barry White and Luther Vandross while giving his spotlight number his own spin. The 14 piece orchestra conducted by Brent-Alan Huffman gives the cast solid backing.
The costume designer Lez Brotherston, the scenic designer Klara Zieglerova and the lighting designer Natasha Katz bring a lot of sparkle to the stage. The Rockette like nuns owe a bow to the choreographer Anthony Van Laast.
“Sister Act--the Musical” is an entertaining show but if you have seen the movie the latter will keep flashing before your eyes in many scenes.
Act 1: 1 hour and 2 minutes Intermission: 21 minutes Act 2: 57 minutes
Strobe, flashing lights and gunshots are used during the production.
Coming up next: “Mary Poppins” at the Arsht Center in Miami, “Agatha Christie’s BBC Murders at the Parker Playhouse and “Flashdance” at the Broward Performing Arts Center.