Monday December 11th 2017

“Sister Act”

Lately, we are seeing many new musicals based on movies instead of original scripts. It appears that ideas are all used up, so it is easier to cash in on something that has proven to be a success. This is understandable in today’s economy as investors must be very wary of writing those big checks. The truth of the matter is that this system has worked when it comes to musicals; “Billy Elliot”, “The Producers” the just recently seen new “Kinky Boots” and not, onstage at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, “Sister Act” based on the movie of the same name . While it is based on the movie written by Joseph Howard, a movie that had some music in it, this version with additional material written by Douglas Carter Beane and  a re-written book by Cheri and Bill Steinkeller also features  original music by Alan Menkin with lyrics by Glenn Slater that propel the story with just the right touch.

Nominated  for five Tony Awards inn 2011, this story is about a young singer, in love with a mobster.club owner who she witnesses killing another mobster. She needs to hide and an old schoolmate, in order to get a conviction hides his witness in a convent, one that is  struggling to survive  The nuns have no musical talent until Delores shows them the way, filling the failing church and making it profitable for the community. While the story is kind of routine and hokey in many ways and one that has been done over and over, it has charm and many comical moments, but most of all, this is a strong and talented cast that truly gives each audience member a magical experience. You don’t have to be Catholic, or Lutheran, or a member of any church at all, to leave the theater clapping your hands and forgetting about all the stuff in your life that brings you down. This is an “upper” that will allow you to leave the theater with a smile on your face and love in your heart!                                               

Local favorite Hollis Resnik takes on Mother Superior with just the right touch; caring, sincere and funny ( with a perfect sense of timing) and the chemistry we feel between her and Delores ( the lovely Ta’Rea Campbell with a voice that is amazing) makes this experience magical. The cast of ladies taking on the Nuns are a group of ladies in all shapes and sizes, but they move well to the choreography of Anthony Van Last. The nuns costumes are for the most part “habits” but there are some wonderful variations on the theme (Lez Brotherston). While this is a specialty piece for the two major roles, without the nuns, it could not work: Florrie Bagel, Diane J. Findlay, Lael Van Keuren, Wendy James and Karen Elliott are the featured ones with a solid ensemble behind them. As for the men;  Kingsley Leggs does a solid Curtis, Eddie ( the cop known as sweaty Eddie, is deftly handled by E. Clayton Cornelious. His big number ” I Could Be That Guy”  has a unique costume change bit that is mind boggling. Curtis has three henchmen who although assorted in sizes are very light on their feet:Todd A Horman (Joey),Ernie Pruneda (Pablo) and Charles Barksdale (TJ). There is also a very clever turn by Richard Pruitt as Monsignor O’Hara.

The musical numbers make telling the story very easy to follow and with the voices of this cast, in particular Ms Campbell and Ms Resnik and the special number by  Ms Van Keuren’s “The Life I Never Led” and the different versions of “Take me To Heaven” and “It’s Good To Be A Nun” along with the big finale” Spread The Love Around”. You can’t help but leave the theater feeling a lot better than when you entered it. “Sister Act” is only here until December 2nd so if you want to experience the magic, I suggest you do not delay in ordering your tickets. The schedule is as follows:

Tuesdays 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.,Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. ( except Thanksgiving),Fridays at 7:30 p.m. (plus a 3 p.m. show on November 23rd), Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with an added 7:30 p.m. on November 18th.

Tickets range from $28-$103 and can be purchased at the Auditorium box office or any Broadway In Chicago box office, including the Kiosk at Water Tower Place, by phone at The Broadway In Chicago Ticketline, 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com

The Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University is located at 50 East Congress Parkway. There are parking lots close by ( $20 average) and of course public transportation is readily available.

To see what other feel, go to my home page and link to theatreinChicago.com, then go to review round-up and click on “Sister Act”

 

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