Deloris Van Cartier has made quite a journey from the big screen to the stage. Based on the 1992 film of the same name, and produced in part by the filmís star, Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act boasts a score by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glen Slater, and a book by Cheers writers Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, with additional material by Douglas Carter Beane. This delightfully wacky period piece of a musical (set in the disco-fueled 1970s), luckily doesnít take itself too seriously.
Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier (Taírea Campbell), an aspiring singer in Philadelphia, who witnesses a murder one evening, and is stowed away in a convent until she can testify. In the convent she meets a hard-nosed Mother Superior (Chicago actress Hollis Resnick), trying hard to maintain control over tradition. As the choir, led by Deloris, begins to bring more money and attention to the failing parish, the sisters start to develop a new-found sense of confidence. Things are really looking up until the aforementioned murderer, Curtis Jackson (Kingsley Leggs) discovers Deloris in a TV broadcast from the parish. Curtis and his henchmen then descend upon the convent to eliminate Deloris.
Itís a fun evening in the theater. The excellent cast is led by two powerhouse performances by Taírea Campbell as Deloris, and Hollis Resnick as the Mother Superior. Ms. Campbell takes control of the show from the first moment, and Ms. Resnickís Mother Superior is a tower of strength, desperately trying to maintain control of her domain. The ensemble of nuns is uniformly strong, particularly Lael Van Keuren as Sister Mary Robert, the naÔve nun who slowly comes out of her shell, and Florrie Bagel, as the fun-loving Sister Mary Patrick. Jerry Zaks directs the show with a contagious sense of playfulness the cast embraces wholeheartedly. "Sister Act" is a great way to usher in the holidays.