BWW Review: SISTER ACT at Music Theatre Of Denton
Although it's been 25 years since the film Sister Act debuted, it's not easy to forget the unconventional tale of sassy lounge singer Deloris, whose need for the witness protection program lands her in a nun's habit alongside a gang of tone-deaf sisters. With her performance background and charisma, it's a no-brainer that she ends up transforming the group into spirited, soulful singers. It was also a no-brainer that this movie ends up transferring to the Broadway stage. And now that this Sister has arrived in Denton, you may have to say a prayer to find this hot ticket!
The Campus Theatre is home to both Music Theatre of Denton and Denton Community Theatre, whose celebrated productions ping-pong onto the stage with friendly competition. SISTER ACT appears as the opening act to MTD's 2017 season, helmed by Eric B. Ryan (director), Dr. John Norine, Jr. (music director), Emily Leekha (choreographer) and Kristy Vivian (producer). With a cast of 28 eager performers with varied levels of experience, SISTER ACT is a shining example of the heart of small-town community theatre. And, so far, they are off to a great start: the show opened last Friday to a sold out crowd, who leaped to their feet at the finale.
Stepping into the habit made famous by Whoopi Goldberg is Tatiana John, with Patricia Sherman starring opposite as Mother Superior. Opening night nerves perhaps hindered the pair on their book scenes (which begged for a spark of energy and speed), but each actress found their comfort as soon as the dialogue transitioned into song. As Deloris' savior and suitor, Eddie, Anthony Ortega also sang the score with ease, nailing his first number, "I Could Be That Guy," which features some flashy, eye-catching costume changes. But, the shining stars of the evening were inarguably Sementa Alldredge and Brynne Huffman. As Sister Mary Robert, Ms. Alldredge perfectly embodied the meek young postulant who is struggling to find her voice. As she (and her voice) grows through Deloris' guidance, Allredge's voice goes from mild-mannered to massive. Ms. Huffman plays Sister Mary Patrick, the perky nun made famous by Kathy Najimy. And Like Najimy, Ms. Huffman's warmth and joy are absolutely infectious. If her energy could be bottled, it could easily power every lighting instrument in the space for the show's entire run.
Scenic changes and lighting cues seemed to catch the first-night, stage-fright bug, but, just like the work of the actors, these are sure to improve with time. The show runs through March 5th and, although it's going to be difficult to locate tickets, information is available at www.MusicTheatreOfDenton.com