Sunday, December 09, 2012

Feeling Sunday Morning Fever


Tonite I attended the final Orlando showing of the touring Broadway musical "Sister Act".

I gotta tell you, I was a little surprised.

For one, the show is only loosely based on the plot of the early '90s hit movie of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg. It diverges in all the right places for a musical though, especially a comedy musical as this most assuredly was. Though the original film was also a comedy, this musical theater version takes it up a notch or two into the realm of light-hearted farce.

Now the jokes and quips were nowhere near as biting or potentially-touchy as those in say, "Nunsense", so it stayed definitely safe for all audiences, but it was tongue-in-cheek satirical enough about Catholic nuns to at least satisfy my tastes.

Also, the time period it was set in was the late seventies, rather than the then-contemporary times of the early nineties as in the film. This allowed for a thematic feel for the music to evoke the disco era. This was yet another surprise as I had expected the songs from the film to be used. Nope, it was all original music. No "My God" (sung to the tune of that Motown fav "My Guy") or "I Will Follow Him". Now these were my favorites from the movie and it would have been great to hear them done live, but you know what, this original music was really, really good!

I was surprised at the talent as well. They were phenomenal!

Tonite's playbill included the inserted announcement that the lead Deloris Van Cartier ("as in Cartier's") would be filled by Rashidra Scott. This wasn't an understudy replacement , it was a permanent replacement of the scheduled performer Ta'rea Campbell who had been with the tour since it began earlier this fall. Don't know what happened there, but Rashidra was flawless! I searched out Ta'rea and saw some YouTube performances of hers and, well, very similar to my experiences with both "La Cage" and "Wicked", I think I saw the better one.

I have to give it up as well, in order of my preference, for Hollis Resnick as Mother Superior, E. Clayton Cornelious as "Sweaty" Eddie Souther, and Lael Van Keuren as Sister Mary Robert. Resnick's solo "Haven't Got A Prayer" was sung a bit too well for a campy production such as this. The song was almost too serious.  We didn't want anything resembling seriousness or even suspension of disbelief...we wanted a hilarious marriage of farce and Vegas. And as the show progressed into more and more campy antics mixed with ever-escalating levels of spectacle and glitz, man we got it! Especially in the finale.

My eyes are still blinded by the sequins...oh the sequins!

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