More and more often, we find ourselves sitting through a live performance of something that was a movie first. Legally Blonde, Shrek, all those Disney musicals. You get the picture.
In the latest iteration of that trend, I saw “Sister Act” at Broadway Sacramento tonight, and it was surprisingly good!
The show is lighthearted and fluffy, tells a nice little love story, gives the female lead a couple of strong-woman moments, and pokes a ton of fun at the church. As overdone as nun humor is, the jokes were well-delivered by the actors, and well-received by the audience. There were multiple pauses for applause in response to some of the one-liners.
The pacing at the beginning of the show is a little bit slow, but picks right up by the middle of the first act.
The set is nicely done, and the costumes run the gamut from stark (the usual black habits) to downright gaudy (see the picture below!).
The cast of the national tour was as surprisingly good as the show itself. Deloris Van Cartier, played by Ta’rea Campbell was excellent. She brought a depth to her character that I didn’t expect, and absolutely won me over by the end of the performance with her great acting and fantastic voice. Mother Superior, performed by Hollis Resnik, was a downright treat. She brought a lot of heart to a character that could easily be left with only one dimension, and played up both the comic and serious moments with sincerity.
The casting of the supporting characters was generally good. Melvin Abston, who plays the villain Curtis Jackson, has a lovely voice, but is stiff in his choreography. Chester Gregory, who plays the romantic interest Eddie Souther, was nice, but a little bland. However, his solo “I Could be That Guy,” involved clever costume changes, and was very well-appreciated by other audience members.
Sister Mary Robert, played by Ashley Moniz, was stellar. Her song, “The Life I Never Led,” was a real highlight of the show. Her voice and her acting were both very strong, and I wish that her part had been bigger.
The show’s final performance in Sacramento is April 13 at 2 p.m. If the “Sister Act” National Tour hits your city and you have a chance to see it – go! I really enjoyed this piece of feel-good theatrical fluff.