Surprise! Broadway Palm's Sister Act is awesome.
I admit it. I came to “Sister Act” with a bad attitude. Another musical based on an old movie or TV show? Kill me now.
Then I saw what Broadway Palm did with the thing. And I take back all the grumbling and negative vibes.
“Sister Act” is surprisingly, fantastically, toe-tappingly awesome.
I’m sorry I ever doubted it.
I barely remember the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg movie, but that’s OK. The musical version stands on its own with the help of Amy Marie McCleary’s spirited direction and choreography, musical director Loren Strickland’s dance-worthy disco and R&B tunes, and a joyful cast that seems to be having an absolute blast.
That energy and enthusiasm spill off the stage and right out into the audience. Just try not to smile and cheer as disco singer Deloris Van Cartie (Housso Semon) witnesses a murder, hides out as a nun and turns the God-awful convent choir into a glittery, show-stopping musical sensation.
This 2011, Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical could have been an easy cash-grab with little thought for anything but the bottom line. But the show’s creators take a surprising amount of care with a sturdy story, funny lines, memorable characters and clever songs that never pander to audience expectations. Songwriters Alan Menkenand Glenn Slater dive deep into the ‘70s with a mix of funk, pop and R&B jams full of horns, dance beats and pure funkiness.
As disco diva Deloris, Semon radiates charisma as she struts around the stage in hot pants, Afro, thigh-high boots and a sequined leopard-print top. And later, she does the same thing in a nun’s habit. Her Deloris is loud, sassy, irreverent and loads of fun.
- Charles Runnels, News-Press, Fort Myers, FL
photo by Kinfay Moroti
. . . in talented, imaginative, McCleary's hands, and a top of the line, super talented cast, this disco-era, soul musical became a sure fire hit, that had the opening night Broadway Palm audience cheering from the opening number to the finale curtain.
Semon (making her Broadway Palm debut) is a diva "Dreamgirl," with a great belting voice, and has what can only be called "star power," but great as she is by no means must Semon carry this show alone. Credit also must apply to the consistently upbeat, humorous songs, sung by an ensemble with the musical chops to sell and deliver the Motown-channeling music with pizzazz.
Standouts include the aforementioned McCoy and DeBoise, the perfect bad guy verses good guy cop, while Roberts brings the appropriate emotion to the more meditative serious numbers, like "Here Within These Walls" and "Haven't Got a Prayer," while Deloris' newly acquired trio of divinely goofy nuns belt out "It's Good To Be A Nun."
Even with all this top notch talent in place, "Sister Act" is heavily dependent on each and every member of this top notch ensemble, both collectively and individually. McCleary has seen to it that the singing, staging, dance, are first rate, comic timing is impeccable, getting the entire cast to groove, making "Sister Act" rather like "Nunsense" on steroids; resulting in a sure fire, toe tapping, hand clapping, hip shaking, audience delight. McCleary has once again proven that she is a master at directing/choreographing shows that appeal to audiences of all ages especially at the Broadway Palm, and all I can add to that is bravo.
- Marsha Wagner, The Islander, Sanibel-Captive, FL