Get out your rosaries and hold onto your bibles, because you’re about to begin an outrageous and fun filled journey that will leave you singing “Alleluia” all night long. That’s right, Sister Act is playing at the Orpheum through June 1. The collision of two worlds- one of a limelight-seeking diva and the other of a strict convent-leading nun- creates an amalgam that will leave you stepping to the beat and laughing uncontrollably. The show is well-rounded with incredible vocals, funny one-liners, and well-executed acting.
The show begins with Deloris Van Cartier (Ta’rea Campbell), an aspiring singer, who dreams about her name in shiny lights. However, her corrupt boyfriend, Curtis (Melvin Abston), is involved in some illegal business and eventually takes a gun to a potential rat. However, at this very moment, Deloris inadvertently walks in on the scene, causing her to flee in fear. After informing the authorities, she is forced into mandatory hiding in order to prevent vengeance from Curtis. The safest place for her to go is a convent. An antithesis to a pious Catholic, Deloris is in for a whirlwind adventure when she has to live under the strict rules of Mother Superior (Hollis Resnik), the leading nun. Nevertheless, as the church is under constant threat of closing and Deloris’ musical passion cannot be contained, the two are forced to cooperate, making for some engaging and hilarious fun.
The clear standout of the show is Ta’rea Campbell. Her impressive vocals shine throughout, adding much needed soul to the traditional Christian hymns. Her most notable performance is in “Take me to Heaven,” a song that is dichotimic in nature, being featured both in the beginning during Deloris’ rise to stardom as well as in the convent as a song that she teaches the choir of nuns. Both renditions are breathtaking and unique, showcasing the versatility and talent of the cast. Another honorable mention is Eddie Souther (Chester Gregory) who plays the cop protecting Deloris, who is also a long-time secret admirer. His song, “I Could be that Guy” is hilarious as he progresses from a self-deprecating and defeated loner into a strong and confident man, ready to win Deloris’ affection.
The cast is talented overall, providing quick wit and strong vocals. Adding to the incredible talent on stage is the set. The church backdrop is adorned with a ginormous statue of Mother Mary and Jesus, as well as faux stained glass windows, adding to the feel of a Catholic church while also poking some fun at its central tenets. While a more secular audience will appreciate the show for its slight derogatory innuendos, a more conservative crowd may feel somewhat offended at the consistent portrayal of nuns as naïve and ignorant.
Putting aside any serious convictions is essential in order to enjoy the show. The performance is outrageous and comical, not meant to be taken seriously. So just sit back and relax, and allow yourself to be transported to a world where nuns will act a little…well, not like orthodox nuns.