Theater Review: Sister Act

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Sister Act the Musical (March 11 – 16; Ages 10 and older)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tpac.org
Showtimes: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 and 8 p.m., Sun 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30 – $85

An absolute heavenly musical with a lot of soul is on stage this week at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. Sister Act the Musical is based on the popular 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. In fact, Goldberg is a co-producer of the show, and her influence no doubt contributes to what makes the musical so outstanding.

Prior to curtain, it was interesting to note that none of the music from the movie — even the most memorable ones like “My God (My Guy),” “Just a Touch of Love” and “I Will Follow Him” — is in the show. Instead, the show boasts all original tunes with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. This is a brilliant move because the audience isn’t comparing any aspect of the music to the movie version. Overall, the music is joyful and exuberant. Interestingly, the time period for the musical is set in the 1970s, which gave Menken the green light to throw in some sizzling disco numbers. The orchestra, led by Brent-Alan Huffman, fills the hall with luscious sound.

Ta’Rea Campbell stars in the leading role of worldly lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence. Campbell brings huge life to her character throughout the show when she takes over being the choir director in the convent. She is a bundle of energy on stage and is a vocal powerhouse when she sings.

Florrie Bagel is divine as the goofy and mischievous Mary Patrick. Her performance is as hilarious and memorable as Kathy Najimi’s portrayal in the movie.

Ashley Moniz also delivers an unforgettable performance as the mousy and timid Mary Robert. Moniz carries this out well, and her solo number, “The Life I Never Led,” not only allows her to showcase a strong singing voice, but it also provides depth to her character that was not in the movie. In essence, she’s questioning God and contemplates what life could be like outside of the church.

Lez Brotherston’s dazzling costumes blend perfectly with Klara Zieglerova’s scenic design and Natasha Katz’ fabulous lighting, making the show a visual masterpiece along with being music to the ears.

Sister Act the Musical is certainly a fun, family show that will stir your soul.

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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