A Miraculous “Sister Act”
By Skip Sheffield
“Sister Act” is a silk-purse-out-of-a-sow’s-ear kind of play. That is to say the nun-themed musical that plays the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton through Dec. 23 is an unexpected pleasure.
I saw this show a couple of times previously and thought “meh.” The plot is preposterous and in no way resembles real life. Of course you don’t go to musical theater to experience real life. You go to escape.
Director Michael Ursua had the wisdom to accentuate the cartoon quality of “Sister Act,” while punching up Alan Menken’s faux rhythm-and-blues Motown-flavored music with Paul Reekie, who recorded the orchestrations.
Crucial to the casting is the role of Deloris Van Cartier, which was originated by Whoopie Goldberg in the 1992 movie. Orlando’s Patrece Bloomfield makes her area debut as Deloris, who has the bad luck to witness her hothead gangster boyfriend Curtis Jackson (Don Seward) shoot dead a rival. Deloris’ former boyfriend “Sweaty” Eddie Souther, now a cop, urges her to go into hiding so she can testify in court against Curtis.
What better place to hide than a convent? That is the setup of “Sister Act.” Deloris is a highly unlikely nun, but the Mother Superior (Danette Cuming) is so compassionate she can’t turn Deloris away.
Deloris finds an immediate way to improve life at the convent. The Sisters Choir is woeful. Deloris gets the ladies singing on key and injects some R&B and Motown inflections, complete with costuming. The most satisfying aspect of “Sister Act” is the blossoming of some key players. The Mother Superior proves to have the best voice in the house. Shy postulant Mary Robert (Jessica Brooke Sanford) comes out of her shell and wows the crowd. Curtis Jackson may be a bad guy, but he has a beautiful, powerful voice. “Sister Act” is still not one of my favorite shows, but darned if Wick Theatre didn’t make it shine.
Tickets are $75-$80. Call 561-995-2333 or go to www.thewick.org.