Photo Flash: All Holy Breaks Loose at SCERA's Production of SISTER ACT
The cast has come up with a hashtag #DivasWhoBelieva, and the divine divas of SCERA's "Sister Act: The Musical" are prepared to dazzle. The premise: It's the 1970s and exuberant disco diva Deloris Van Cartier wants a recording contract. Little does she know that soon she will be singing praises to heaven instead as she hides in a convent while eluding a gangster boyfriend.
That was the basis of the wildly successful 1992 movie, "Sister Act," starring Whoopi Goldberg. It's also the premise of an energetic stage show by the same name with original music by Tony and Academy Award winner Alan Menken. SCERA will present the hilarious and heartfelt comedy April 13-May 5, 2018 as the closing show of the Indoor Season at SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State, Orem-and director David Smith couldn't be happier.
"My one-word response when asked to direct was 'absolutely,'" says Smith, who recently shadowed a director doing "Sister Act" in Salt Lake Valley. "I loved following that show. I wanted to take another group of talented women and show off what they can do together. It's been a really fun and gratifying experience."
"Sister Act" will perform Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Reserved-seat tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older, and are available at www.scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS, or in person at the main office at SCERA Center, open 10am-6pm weekdays.
"We have a great pool of talent in Utah Valley," Smith says. "I didn't originally know about 80 percent of the cast. Some of them auditioned for the first time at SCERA, because they were so excited to be in this show. I can see why."
He explained that, to begin with, it's a really fun play, but at the same time, it promotes the values of love and family, qualities that really count. He especially applauds the music.
"This show has music, music, and more music, which is ideal for this particular show, because so much of it is about singing and learning how to sing," he says." Alan Menken is so good at creating different musical styles, including some great ballads that highlight the play's core message. Much of a musical's feeling is expressed through song, and that certainly applies here."
"Sister Act" is played tongue-in-cheek much of the time, but the light heartedness of the work become a bit more serious toward the end as it examines religion, love and families.
An elaborate, almost Notre Dame-like panel will take up the entire back wall of the theater and be lit to produce the look of stained glass. Set designer Shawn Mortensen is also the show's choreographer, and he has infused the disco vibe when the nuns let loose with their hilarious hallelujahs.
DeLayne Dayton is music director. The show uses multiple musical styles, and in one scene, the sisters are singing Latin and then it turns to crazy four-part disco singing.
"There is a lot of music in the show," Smith adds, "and people are going to feel as if they have come to a big concert."
Deborah Bowman, who frequently has a backstage role in SCERA's costume shop, will appear onstage as a nun. "Debbie has an amazing voice, as do all the nuns" Smith says. Costumes were designed by Kelsey Seaver, who in addition to nun's habits, will also offer sparkle from costumes and wigs.
Breanne Schow, who just finished her master's degree in London as a vocal performance major, plays Mother Superior who tries to maintain order and deal with Deloris, performed by Becca Rose, who has played the role before and is terrifically sassy with a powerful voice. Other actors include Rebecca Soelberg as Sister Mary Robert; Randilee Warner as Sister Mary Patrick; Shannon Follette as Sister Mary Lazarus; James Murphy is Curtis; Kyle Baugh is Eddie; and Aaron Evensen is Monsignor.
"I cast a wide range of ages for the nuns, including a lady in her 80s," Smith says. "I wanted various looks and voices as well as different personalities. I hope the overall feeling of the show will be a celebration of the uniqueness of people and how you can find family in many different places."
Smith expects the audience to be humming music as they leave the auditorium. "The music is upbeat and fun, and especially lovely is the finale song, 'Spread the Love.' It helps us move farther away from rules and the letter of the law to focusing more on loving each other."
All photos by Rachael Gibson Photography