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Broadway Review Roundup: SISTER ACT - All the Reviews!

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SISTER ACT began preview performances March 24 and opens tonight Wednesday, April 20, 2011. SISTER ACT features an original score with music by multi-Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe Award-winning composer Alan Menken, lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Glenn Slater, a book by multi-Emmy Award winners Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, and additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane. Directed on Broadway by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks , the production features choreography by Tony and Olivier Award nominee Anthony Van Laast  and is based on the Touchstone Pictures motion picture Sister Act written by Joseph Howard.

The Broadway company of SISTER ACT features Olivier Award-nominee Patina Miller as Deloris Van Cartier, Tony Award-winner Victoria Clark as Mother Superior, Fred Applegate as Monsignor,Sarah Bolt as Sister Mary Patrick, John Treacy Egan as Joey, Demond Green as TJ, Chester Gregory as Eddie, Kingsley Leggs as Curtis, Marla Mindelle as Sister Mary Robert, Audrie Neenanas Sister Mary Lazarus and Caesar Samayoa as Pablo.

So, what did the choir of critics have to say? Let's find out...

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: I wish I could report that the singing nuns from the Church of Philly Soul are giving those perky Mormons in Africa a run for their money in the unholy hilarity department. But when the jubilant choral numbers subside, as inevitably they must, "Sister Act" slumps back into bland musical-theater grooves and mostly lacks the light of invigorating inspiration.

Elysa Gardner, USA Today: The latest entry, Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy (***½out of four), may be less giddily profane, and thought-provoking, than The Book of Mormon, but it has its own distinct and surprising charms.  Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater provide original tunes that nod cheekily, but with genuine affection, to that pop era while also propelling the story with a style and exuberance specific to well-crafted musical theater.

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: Calibrated to be frothy, giggly and yet often poignant, the Jerry Zaks-directed musical is based on the 1992 movie of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg, who is now producing. This is a musical that hits all the right spots, achieving something close to Broadway grace. It helps that the musical has great original tunes by songwriter Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater that skitters from Motown, to soul and funk, to disco and even a little jokey Barry White. Menken and Slater, who also teamed up for "The Little Mermaid," know perfectly how to switch up the mood and tempo. (See how their "Take Me to Heaven" transforms from a Donna Summer-like number at the beginning to a religious hymn by the end.)

Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: A blessed event has landed on Broadway. "Sister Act," which opened last night, is a feel-good crowd-pleaser worth celebrating. Here are 10 reasons to sing its praises...

Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News: Miller's big, brassy voice and unwholesome swagger inject just the right amount of sizzle into the proceedings. In short order, she transforms a group of mousy nuns from meek choir singers to foot-stomping, palm-waving, ear-splitting cheerleaders for Jesus. Praise the Lord, or Jerry Zaks, the enterprising director who has turned a chancy enterprise, which debuted in London, into a ripping goodtime hit.

Steven Suskin, Variety: Whoopi Goldberg looms large over the new musical comedy "Sister Act," and that's part of the problem. While she co-produced, Goldberg isn't onstage, and the outsized sense of hilarity mixed with humanity she brought to the 1992 motion picture is sorely missed. Patina Miller makes an altogether impressive Broadway debut as diva-on-the-run Deloris Van Cartier, singing up a veritable storm, but the decision to plaster Goldberg's name on numerous signs outside the theater raises comparisons that flatter neither Miller nor this garish production.

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