SISTER ACT 'Takes you to Heaven' at Westchester Broadway TheatrePublished: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 By: Kathryn Kitt Source: BroadwayWorld
I never saw Sister Act, the Musical when it was on Broadway, but now this is my second Westchester go round with this musical. It certainly makes sense for Westchester Broadway Theatre especially to mount it since it gives a unified group of nuns the chance to belt and let their habits down to a 60's themed score. If you are able to wait it out with all the exposition to build to singing nuns, then the payoff is worth it.
Based on the hit movie starring Whoopi Goldberg as Deloris, the singer who witnesses a murder, this is no Maria von Trapp hiding from Nazis situation. She has to hide in a convent in order to keep herself from getting killed by mobsters. While there, she encounters, strict regimes and a cacophony of singing that is like nails on a chalkboard. It is up to our heroine to turn these nuns into a gospel choir!
As usual, the talent is top notch, staring with Zuri Washington as Deloris Van Cartier, complete with a Beyoncé/Diana Ross vibe in sass and vocal prowess. Mary Jo McConnell as Mother Superior and Deloris's nemesis gets her own sympathetic moment with the power ballad "Haven't got a Prayer." Lani Corson as Mary Robert has the girl power anthem "The Life I Never Led" for all conflicted life decisions we struggle with.
Danny Wilfred as Eddie Souther has smooth moves and killer chemistry with Ms. Washington and one certainly roots for them to be together. Philip Michael Baskerville as Curtis Jackson, is a convincing villain, while Jayson Elliott, Jason Long and Corben Williams as Mr. Baskerville's cronies bring the house down with the "Full Monty" like song "Lady in the Long Black Dress" in the second act.
Donna Drake has staged a fully realized production complete with sassy, cohesive choreography ably supported by Musical Director Bob Bray and Associate Director/Choreographer Rhonda Miller. Steve Loftus nicely balances the austere church vibe eye popping visuals for the ensemble numbers. Heather Carey's costumes pop with sparkles and accoutrements. Andrew Gmoser's lighting design and Mark Zuckerman's sound design nicely adds to the overall structure of the show.
The score itself has a few hummable songs, but it is truly the performances and energy that elevate this show. Thanks to the Westchester Theatre circular stage and the overall ambiance of the "Dinner Theatre" experience, it would be a nice way to spend a theatrical event.