It is a rarity to see the total package musical. However, Sister Act was just that. Exceptional singing, acting, costumes, and sets came together to create a truly breathtaking experience. Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, an aspiring singer. Her good for nothing boyfriend has gotten into trouble and results in Deloris going into hiding in a convent. It is there where she meets the convent’s less than good choir. She takes it upon herself to raise the choir out of the ashes while simultaneously avoiding death. She becomes a savior (no pun intended) for the members of the convent and shows them how to do something they have never experienced: fun. This magical occasion happened on May 27th at the Orpheum theatre in Minneapolis.
Right off the bat, the high energy opening number Take Me To Heaven transported me to a 1970’s club. Ta’rea Campbell had passionate vocals and the backup singers only accentuated the 70’s vibe. Melvin Abston did not reciprocate this passion while playing Curtis. He seemed like he was singing just to hit the right notes, not to convey a character. Everything from his posture to facial expressions was bland. I felt as though I was simply watching an actor play a character and not as if I was actually watching a mobster on stage. The actors that rose above the rest were Sister Mary Patrick played by Florrie Bagel and the henchmen played by Charles Barksdale, Chris Chatman, and Tad Wilson. Sometimes being the only bout of lightheartedness in a grim tale, it was important to be over the top. And wow did they deliver. Sister Mary Patrick was so bubbly and made everyone giggle, while the henchmen had hilarious personalities that were so fun to watch on stage. I was very pleased with the development of the themes. Seeing the nuns go from judging Deloris for her clothes and attitude, to being willing to die for her was heartwarming and brought me to tears.
Another impressive aspect of the show were the aesthetics. The costumes were completely outrageous but hilarious! My personal favorite was the rapping nun in sunglasses. Having such polar opposite costumes (a fuddy duddy nun to 70’s soul singer) helped to show the development of the characters. The sparkly robes matched the incredible sets. There were so many props so the show was not only fun to listen to, but fun to look at. A glorious stained glass set was rigged to have lights behind it. It was such a creative way to mesh the 70’s funk with an ornate church. The club set was equally as funky. The jukebox was a nice touch and made the stage less dingy and more visually pleasing.
In conclusion, Sister Act had powerhouse singers and actors. While some actors fell flat, the beautiful sets and costumes made up for it. The overarching theme of friendship is what really struck me as phenomenal. All in all, Sister Act was truly heavenly.