Sister Act

Faith meets fabulous in this fun, feel-good musical

Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner
Directed by Jerry Zaks

The company of Sister Act. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Almost everyone is familiar with the 1992 comedy about a lounge singer who takes refuge in a convent starring “nun” other than Whoopi Goldberg. Now on stage at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, the stage adaptation of Sister Act, produced by Goldberg herself, offers audiences an updated take on the power of sisterhood, featuring a score of new disco-inspired songs by award-winning composer Alan Menken.

The musical mostly follows the same storyline as the film: Deloris Van Cartier (played by the dynamic Ta’Rea Campbell) is a talented but unappreciated Philadelphia nightclub performer who longs to be famous. Forced to enter a witness protection program after seeing her mobster boyfriend Curtis Jackson (Kingsley Leggs) kill a man, she is sent to a local convent where she must behave herself under the watchful eye of the holier-than-thou Mother Superior (a perfectly no-nonsense Hollis Resnik). Of course Deloris befriends her fellow sisters and transforms the choir into a glorious cash cow that saves the church from dwindling attendance. Her success is dangerous however, as the media attention it brings is eventually noticed by the man she is hiding from, and the sisters learn the truth about her situation.

New to this show is the love story that develops between Deloris and her childhood friend/cop Eddie Souther or “Sweaty Eddie” (the charming E. Clayton Cornelious), and the involvemenet of Curtis Jackson’s cronies TJ (Charles Barksdale), Joey (Todd A. Horman) and Pablo (Ernie Pruneda), whose silly song about seducing a “Lady In The Long Black Dress” is a definite crowd-pleaser, if somewhat irrelevant to the plot. Overall, these side-stories take away from what we really want to see, which is more of the nuns.

Sister Act doesn’t really get good until the sisters’ first rehearsal scene. Here, we finally get a taste of the lovable characters from the movie, including the hilariously deadpan Mary Lazarus (Diane J. Findlay), the bubbly Mary Patrick (Florrie Bagel) and the shy girl-turned showstopper Mary Robert (Lael Can Keuren). The sisters perform wonderfully as an ensemble, performing memorable numbers such as “Raise Your Voice and “Bless Our Show” with infectious enthusiasm. Campbell’s powerhouse vocals bring down the house on several occasions, as does Keuren’s moving solo “The Life I Never Led.”

While the seriousness of Deloris’ situation is often undermined by the slapstick antics of Curtis Jackson’s cronies, the relationship between the sisters is genuinely heartwarming and fun to watch. The audience especially loved the show’s big glittery finish, which had the theatre up and dancing through the curtain call. A Pope-ular finale to be sure.

Sister Act runs until November 4 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria Street). Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Fri, 2012-10-05 - Sun, 2012-11-04
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