“Sister Act,” billed as a divine musical comedy, is playing at the Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park through June 16. Full of lively music and dancing, the production lives up to its great reviews since its start.
Opening night in Dallas seemed to go off smoothly. If there were snafus behind the curtain, no hint was seen of it when the curtain opened. Costumes are beautiful with just the right amount of glitz. Technician crews add the right pizazz to scenes and costumes with creative lighting. It is an overall excellent production. And it’s fun.
Deloris Van Cartier, a girl with a going-nowhere singing career who accidentally witnesses a murder, is forced into hiding in a convent as a nun.
Deloris is played by Ta’Rea, who may be best known for starring as Nala in The Lion King on Broadway and the national tour. “Sister Act” executive producer Whoopi Goldberg said in a recording on the play’s website: “She freaks them (the nuns) out and they freak her out and suddenly it’s a love story.” And that’s exactly what happened.
Director Jerry Zaks is right on when he describes the production as “… funny, funny, smart, funny and then very touching.” He also said in a recording on the “Sister Act” website that composer Alan Menkin “has outdone himself.” The music truly makes you want to get up and dance. A look across the audience revealed a number of bobbing heads in time with the music as the nuns sang and danced their way through this fun production.
Though lively, fun, and sometimes silly, this musical has some depth to its story as well. Deloris quickly becomes a pain in the backside of Mother Superior, played by veteran actor Hollis Resnik, because she’s brought the theater style to the church and the convent. The sisters appear in glitzy and sometimes colored nun habits to dance and sing.
Mother Superior, has a poignant soliloquy that reflects some attitudes found in the church today. In her prayer to God, asking Him to make Deloris go away, she charges that Deloris’ theatricks are bringing in people off the street, drug addicts, gay people and some homeless. The irony, of course, is that the church is supposed to be trying to bring those people and more into the fold.
Mother Superior also delivers some of the funniest lines of the show. When Deloris asks about a smoking section, Mother Superior confirms that there is one “and you’re headed for it.”
Monsignor O’Hara quickly becomes a fan of Deloris because her productions are not only bringing in people, but also donations. He even gets into the shiny wardrobe. At one point when Mother Superior complains that God is not answering her prayers, the monsignor responds to her, “God has answered, you just don’t like the answer.”
There is not enough space to tell all the good things about this musical. But I particularly loved “Sunday Morning Fever.” Following is a sampling of the lyrics: “Spread the news! It’s time to rock the pews! We’ve got the Sunday morning fever! It’s a sound that turns your soul around until it makes you a believer … Girls and boys, come make a joyful noise and do the Sunday morning hustle! Bump that thing in praise of Christ the King until you pull your pelvic muscle!”
The show is fun while it also delivers a message. I hope to see it again before its run in Dallas is completed.
The Music Hall is inside Dallas’ Fair Park at 909 First Avenue. The hall boasts 3,420 seats and serves as home for Broadway musical touring companies, grand opera, ballet and other dance productions, concerts (including live global television broadcasts), national pageants and myriad other large and small public and private functions. It is also home for the Dallas Summer Musicals and has been in operation since 1925.
For information call 214-565-1116 or visit the website at htttp://dallassummermusicals.org.