SISTER ACT at Haddonfield Plays and Players

Those wonderful sisters are at it again!
The Sisters “Raise Their Voices” in historic Haddonfield New Jersey with a heavenly, heartfelt production.
For those not from South Jersey, welcome to one of the oldest theater troupes in the area. Since 1934 this dedicated group of individuals has performed in many local venues, including the Haddonfield Fortnightly and the Kingsway Learning Center. In 1986, they built a 150 seat performing arts center where they now do most of their productions.
Based on the popular 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg award-winning composer Alan Menken and lyrics by Grammy winner Glenn Slater bring this story to life and almost everyone loves these singing nuns.

The cast is delightful from the super talented Paige Smallwood who plays Deloris
Van Cartier to Tami Gordon Brody playing Mother Superior to Sister Mary Robert (Kelsey Hogan), Sister Mary Patrick (Karen Henry), Monsignor O’Hara (Charles L. Bandler). Terrance Hart puts in a standout performance as Eddie (Sweaty Eddie), the officer/hero who saves the day!

For the few who don’t know the story, the show tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, an aspiring disco diva in late 1970’s Philadelphia. Deloris accidentally witnesses her mobster boyfriend Curtis killing a man in cold blood. Deloris runs to the police for safety and agrees to testify against her ex. Officer Eddie Souther, a shy, nervous man who had a crush on Deloris when they were both in high school, offers her witness protection in the most unlikely of places: a convent. Brash Deloris immediately runs afoul of the Mother Superior at the ailing church, but finds her place working with the nuns’ feeble choir, transforming the group into a slick musical unit that performs spiritual songs with soulful energy and flashy choreography.

This show is filled with clever, non-stop fun at the hands of director/choreography by Chris McGinnis with show stopping costumes by Tina’s Productions. The movies-to-musicals trend has been in full swing for a quite some time and Sister Act lends itself nicely for a live musical treatment. There are some charming character moments for both shy Mary Robert and the relationship between Deloris and Mother Superior. These added plot changes not seen in the film tone down all the Vegas-style hoopla nicely.

Musical Highlights include “Take Me To Heaven”, Raise Your Voice”, The Life I Never Led” and Sister Act”.

SISTER ACT plays at the Haddonfield Plays and Players, on selected date through Feb. 18. For tickets and more about the Haddonfield Plays & Players visit www.haddonfieldplayers.com or call 856.429.8139

Photo Credits: Perspective Media Productions

Sister Act at the Walnut Makes a Joyful Noise!

sister08
“Raise Your Voice” those wonderful sisters of song are at it again. Having only seen the popular 1992 comedy film starring Whoopi Goldberg I was hoping the staged musical would come close to the comedy of the film.

Walnut Street Theatre concludes its 207th season with a “habit-forming” musical comedy set in Philadelphia, SISTER ACT. Directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford. Stafford’s clever, non- stop fun has its audience smiling and laughing out loud throughout the entire show. Music and dancing are already an integral part of the story, and almost everyone loves singing nuns. All the witty musical pieces are present thanks to award-winning composer Alan Menken and lyrics by Grammy winner Glenn Slater.

For the few who don’t know the story, the show tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, an aspiring disco diva in late 1970’s Philadelphia. Deloris accidentally witnesses her mobster boyfriend killing a man in cold blood. Deloris runs to the police for safety and agrees to testify against her ex. Officer Eddie Souther, a shy, nervous man who had a crush on Deloris when they were both in high school, offers her witness protection in the most unlikely of places: a convent. Brash Deloris immediately runs afoul of the Mother Superior at the ailing church, but finds her place working with the nuns’ feeble choir, transforming the group into a slick musical unit that performs spiritual songs with soulful energy and flashy choreography.

Dan’yelle Williamson makes her Walnut debut as Deloris Van Cartier. From the moment she steps on stage Williamson delights and delivers! Several Philly favorites take the nunsense” to the next level fun. Mary Martello returns to the Walnut as Mother Superior, who has some of the best lines and quips of the show. Philip Michael Baskerville returns as Curtis Jackson. The Sisters helping to protect Deloris are Laura Giknis (Grease) as Sister Mary Robert, Melissa Joy Hart (A Christmas Story) as Sister Mary Patrick, Diane J. Findlay (42nd Street) as Sister Mary Lazarus and Ellie Mooney (Mary Poppins) as Sister Mary Martin-of-Tours.
Ron Wisniski (Memphis) returns to the Walnut as Monsignor O’Hara. Fran Prisco, sister15who audiences will remember from A Christmas Story and Harvey, plays Joey, and Billy D. Hart (High Society) will play Ernie. Kent Overshown (Eddie Souther) makes his Walnut debut, as well as NaTonia Monét (Michelle), Alicia Charles (Tina), Tony Castellanos (Pablo), Justin Keyes (TJ) and Madeleine Doherty (Sister Mary Theresa). Standout performances are offered by Laura Giknis who totally finds her singing voice in a powerful “The Life I Never Led” and Ron Wisniski steals the show as the funky Monsignor. Mary Martello’s Mother Superior seems younger, more vibrant, than the dry Maggie Smith’s in the film. This head of the Sisters seems totally devoted to her faith and her solo “Haven’t Got a Prayer” is heartfelt with a touch of humor.
sister03 bigThe movies-to-musicals trend has been in full swing for a quite some time and Sister Act lends itself nicely for a live musical treatment. There are some charming character moments for both shy Mary Robert and the relationship between Deloris and Mother Superior. These added plot changes not seen in the film tone down all the Vegas-style hoopla nicely.

The second best asset to the success of this presentation has to go to creators of sets (Peter Barbieri), lighting (Jack Mehler) and those amazing millions of sequins brought to us by costume designer Gail Baldoni. Move over Vegas the Walnut has the edge on glitz!

SISTER ACT runs at the Walnut Street Theater, 825 Walnut Street from May 17 through July 17. For Tickets and more information call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787 or www.walnutstreettheatre.org

Photo Credits: Mark Garvin