BWW Review: SISTER ACT at The Rollins Theatre, Austin Texas
"Mary is fierce!"
- - unseen character, Sister Act
SISTER ACT was everything I needed it to be. Theatre is a terrific form of escape. We forget our worries for a while, relax, and enjoy a different time and place. For those of us in show business, theatre is our "church". We feel safe here, we are safe here. In the theatre world we are celebrated for our differences, revered even. Personally, with what is happening in the political world today, I needed the theatre Saturday night more than ever. I needed my refuge, my renewal of faith, and SISTER ACT did not disappoint.
In the quintessential fish-out-of-water story, the heroine of SISTER ACT,Deloris Van Cartier is a beautiful aspiring singer who accidentally witnesses a murder. Her life is in danger and she needs to hide out until the culprit is caught. The police suggest an obscure, financially strapped cloister of nuns, (decidedly not Deloris' cup of tea), and hilarity ensues...
Micaela Lamas is perfection in the role of Deloris and this show is a terrific vehicle for her considerable talents. The excellent score shows off her vocal range and dance training, while the book provides some hilarious dialogue and enough serious moments to showcase her acting range. Lamas is awesome and could make a career playing this role in theatres around the globe.
The mother superior of the cloister (Abby Holtfort) is not happy to have this lapsed-catholic lounge singer living amongst her girls and provides a good amount of the conflict in the story. Holtfort is equally well cast with some really terrific moments; In Act I she delivers "Here Within These Walls" schooling Deloris on what is expected of her nuns and in Act II, the show-stopping "Haven't Got a Prayer". The mother superior prays quite a bit and all of her prayers are answered. The timing, outcomes, and aftermath aren't necessarily what she envisions, but all her prayers are answered nonetheless.
Another Act II show-stopper is delivered by the recalcitrant Sister Mary Robert, (Maryanna Tollemache) pouring out her dreams to Deloris with the hauntingly beautiful "The Life I Never Led". Tollemache takes her moment, hits every note fully in character and the results are pure theatre magic.
The supporting cast are exceptional in their roles as are the ensemble. Every single artist is a triple-threat and the joy they provide, backed up by a stellar orchestra, wearing exquisite costumes, on a dazzling set designed by Austin favorite, la Enstera, is a feast for the senses.
Make no mistake, SISTER ACT isn't merely a show but a celebration of life, a joyous reminder of all that is good and kind and right with humanity - inclusion, acceptance, connection, faith, acknowledgement... It reminds us that we, (the collective we), are so very much more than what can be quantified and qualified by our limited senses. We are truly blessed because together we are strong, we are one, we are fierce.
The finale provides a favorite moment for me when Deloris is allowed to break the fourth wall. She addresses the most important element of the theatre, the audience. Her message is a quick "Thank you! You all were fabulous!!!" A beautiful expression of our thoughts and the perfect line to usher in an encore that brings down the house. Trust me when I tell you that the crowd went absolutely wild, and so will you.
Do not miss SISTER ACT, running in rep at the Rollins Theatre through August 10 along with HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, and HAUNTED: A GHOST STORY.
Tickets available at: https://thelongcenter.org/events-and-tickets/sister-act/