Sister Act at the Orpheum Theatre: The Grapefruit of Broadway

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I would like to start off my review by comparing this show to a grapefruit. Some of you may wonder why, exactly, is the Tony award winning show Sister Act like a grapefruit? I can see why you might have some confusion. You see, what I’m trying to say is that Sister Act, like a grapefruit, is something that, unless you’re into that sort of thing, isn’t very satisfying. The cast did a wonderful job, the sets were great, the lighting was spot on, but it just wasn’t that great of a story. Sister Act’s plot is very cliched. Person forced to live in a place that hates them, person helps save place from something, place accepts them for who they are. If you like that sort of story, have at it, if you don’t, you might want to stay away.

I enjoyed Ta’rea Campbell’s performance as the glittering diva Deloris Van Cartier. Her voice was nice to listen to and she made an otherwise dull and contrived show interesting to listen to. I also enjoyed Melvin Abston, who played Curtis Jackson. His voice was deep and melodic. If I could have just listened to Melvin Abston and Ta’rea Campbell sing duets from different Broadway shows for two and a half hours instead of watching Sister Act, I would have.

I am a huge Alan Menken fan. Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite musicals, but I felt that the compositions he wrote for Sister Act were lifeless and flat. However, there were some exceptions that proved the rule. The song “When I Find My Baby” is wonderfully composed. It begins by sounding like a regular Broadway ‘I want my girl back’ song, but turns into a surprisingly funny song about how he wants to murder his mistress. Melvin Abston performed it with a dramatic flair that fit both his voice and the character well.

The sets were glittery, extravagant, and over the top. They lit up, moved, changed colors. It seemed a bit too showy for this show. It felt like Klara Zieglerova, the set designer, was trying to dazzle the audience to distract them from the sub-par plot. The costumes looked like they had been attacked by a nine year old with a bedazzler. They were gaudy, sparkly, and looking at them felt like I was being stabbed in the eyes by five hundred rays of light. It was like trying to stare into the sun.

Overall, it’s all up to you as to whether you want to see this show or not. I didn’t really care for it, but quite a few of the theatre goers I saw after the show seemed very happy. Like I said, it’s like a grapefruit. Some people love it, other people don’t. Some of the content is a bit inappropriate, but most of it would probably just go right over a child’s head. There are gunshot noises and bright lights in this production.