Thanks to a talented cast, 'Sister Act' is heavenly
The story offers few surprises, and the scenery — with one spectacular exception — has a small budget aura. Nevertheless, the national touring company of “Sister Act” has redeeming qualities that outweigh those sins.
The musical comedy playing at the Benedum Theater through Sunday as a presentation of the PNC Broadway Across America subscription series is blessed with a talented cast that rises above a predictable story with moments of divine inspiration.
The story is already familiar as a 1992 movie of the same name that starred Whoopi Goldberg as a lounge singer named Deloris who is given shelter in a convent when she becomes the star witness in a murder trial.
Like the movie, much of the humor of Cheri and Bill Steinkellner's book stems from the culture clash between the order's strict Mother Superior and the free-living Deloris.
And few will be surprised that, in true musical-comedy tradition, Deloris saves the convent from disaster by teaching the nuns how to inject a disco vibe into their hallelujah choruses.
What will have you singing this show's praises is a stellar cast who turn Alan Menken and Glenn Slater's score into a joyful musical celebration of disco and the divine.
Heading up the cast as Deloris is Ta'Rea Campbell, whose voice and moves enliven songs from the “Take Me to Heaven” opening to the touching “Sister Act” ending.
Woodland Hills High School graduate and Rankin native E. Clayton Cornelious plays the cop assigned as Deloris's protector and longtime admirer. He impresses with his solo number, “I Could Be That Guy,” his talent for self-deprecating humor and a strong, appealing voice.
Lael Van Keuren, who plays the timid, rule-following novice Mary Robert, finally comes into her own when she belts out her reprise of “The Life I Never Led.”
Hollis Resnik offers unsuspected dimensions to her Mother Superior character with “Haven't Got a Prayer.”
Richard Pruitt amuses as his Monsignor O'Hara shifts into showbiz mode, as do Todd A. Horman, Ernie Pruneda and Charles Barksdale as a trio of lively, but hapless henchmen dispatched to track down Deloris.
As the convent's fame and fortunes improve, so does “Sister Act” as a succession of eye-popping and sequined second-act musical numbers fill the show's one spectacular set.
At the end of two-and-one-half hours, the show's glittery “Spread the Love Around” finale sends the audience out on a musical-theater high.
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jerome Bettis to be enshrined in hall of fame
- Springdale trestle bridge deemed structurally sound
- New Kensington woman struck by vehicle, injured
- Rossi: History beckons for Seattle’s Seahawks
- Tennessee quarterback Peterman considers transfer to Pitt
- Alle-Kiski Valley deemed medically underserved
- Westmoreland museum spotlights artist John Kane’s late-in-life fame
- January temperatures, snowfall unremarkable in Western Pennsylvania
- Central Catholic safety Petrishen to sign with Penn State
- Suggestions are aplenty on what Penguins need to break through
- Big Bang ‘waves’ go poof under analysis