BWW Review: Spread the Love Around--Virginia Repertory Theatre's Infectious and Pristine Production of SISTER ACT is a Holiday Treat Dressed in a Habit!
You don't get much closer to Broadway than Virginia Repertory Theatre's surprisingly irresistible production of SISTER ACT. There's little more entertaining than seeing this supreme troupe of singing, dancing nuns. Disclaimer: That ear-to-ear grin you feel across your face will likely not subside until well after the final bows. Click here to purchase tickets.
With a rousing pop score by Alan Menken (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, NEWSIES, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) and Glenn Slater (THE LITTLE MERMAID, LEAP OF FAITH), and a comical book by sitcom screenwriters Cheri and Bill Steinkellner (Cheers, The Jeffersons), the 1992 movie-turned-Broadway musical is a sure crowd-pleaser at the November Theatre. For those unfamiliar with the film, Deloris Van Cartier (Felicia Curry) is an aspiring club singer who is forced into hiding in a convent after witnessing a murder by her mobster boyfriend, Curtis (Sincee J. Daniels).
Director Robin Arthur undisputedly assembled the best musical cast of the year for SISTER ACT. Under the topflight musical direction of Anthony Smith, accompanied by a booming band, the exuberant and large cast shines.
Starting with the convent's supporting buttresses, and complemented by a dozen or so slick-as-grease set changes, Ron Keller's scenic design is enormous and fills the stage with the same glory carried throughout the production. BJ Wilkinson's pulsating lights add great color. Sarah Grady's costumes dazzle.
Durron Marquis Tyre's Eddie is a real delight. His "I Could Be That Guy," assisted by some clever onstage wardrobe changes, is a crowd favorite. Anthony Cosby adds great humor as Curtis' flamboyant nephew. Cosby is joined by Curtis' other henchmen, Paul Major and Mark Parello, in the hilarious "Lady in the Long Black Dress," a nod to Barry White and other classic R&B legends.
Andrea Rivette is a perfectly-reserved and unyielding Mother Superior. She showcases her gorgeous voice in "Here Within These Walls." Michael Hawke's Monsignior O' Hara is much more easily converted by the monetary gains Deloris brings to the convent. Kelsey Cordrey's Sister Mary Patrick is bouncy and memorable. As Sister Mary Lazarus, Susan Sanford delivers an absolutely perfect rendition of The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Gwynne Wood's voice, as Sister Mary Robert, is a real surprise.
For those who missed her electrifying performance in Virginia Repertory Theatre's THE COLOR PURPLE, Felicia Curry is a genuine star-a real firecracker of talent as Deloris Van Cartier. Her infectious and natural performance alone is worth the price of the ticket. She leads the show-stopping anthem "Raise Your Voice" with funk and forceful energy.
With some unforgettable performances and a groovy score, SISTER ACT is a feel-good musical appropriate for ages 10 and up. This unmissable production runs through January 6 at the November Theatre.