BWW Review: SISTER ACT at Barn Players
Former Federal Reserve Chairman is credited with coining the phrase "Irrational exuberance." Barn Players Community Theater has bottled "irrational exuberance" and unleashed it on a stage with their current production of 2011's "Sister Act" Broadway Style Musical based on the movie of the same name.
For those few readers who missed the movie, here, briefly, is the plot. Deloris (Allison Jones), a lounge singer, witnesses a murder committed by her mobster boyfriend. She agrees to testify against the bad guy, but Deloris fears for her life. The police protect her by stashing her in a convent. Deloris masquerades as a nun in full habit.
At the same time, the convent is threatened with financial ruin. Logically enough, the Mother Superior (Ruth Baum Bigus) assigns this musician to be the new choir director and Deloris saves the day. Deloris's irrational exuberance surfaces the sisters own unique personalities in an unexpected way.
The idea of making the hit movie into a Broadway style musical play required a bunch more songs, a few new characters, and an important subplot. The songs were provided by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. The book is written by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner.
The mobster boyfriend part, Curtis (Graham Fairleigh), is much expanded in this version. He is given henchmen, his gang, consisting of Joey (Josh Arellano), Pablo (Julian Rivera), and Curtis' neice TJ (Anne Haines). The other new character is Policeman Eddie (Nathaniel Rasson) who doubles as Deloris' high school friend and new love interest.
I suppose this show could be "habit forming" (pun intended). It is a funny premise performed pretty well by this Barn Players cast. Allison Jones as Deloris or Sister Mary Clarence is very good. Although I have never seen her before, I suspect we will see her again. Ruth Bigus as Mother Superior is right on. You expect her to take out a ruler and rap your fingers. The voices are uniformly appropriate to their rolls. Of special note (no pun intended) are Allison Jones as Deloris, Nathaniel Rasson as Eddie, Anne Haines as TJ, and Ramsey Self as Sister Mary Robert. Direction and Choreography by Guy Gardner are important to control and direct a huge chorus component that is reminiscent of Busby Berekly's massive chorus numbers and in nun's habits.
Fans of Barn Players production will enjoy this rendering of a very funny idea. "Sister Act" runs through November 19. Tickets are available on the Internet at www.thebarnplayers.org or by telephone at 913-432-9100.
Photo courtesy of Barn Players and Vida Bikales