“Sister Act” is a Funky and Flashy Musical with a Lot of Soul

Who can ever forget the iconic scene in Sister Act where Whoopi Goldberg led a choir of nuns in singing “I Will Follow Him”? I loved the movie (and its sequel) growing up, so imagine how joyful, joyful I felt when I heard that the musical adaptation will be flying to Manila for a limited run.

If you’re not familiar with the film, Sister Act follows Deloris Van Cartier, a lounge singer who witnesses a murder. She is put in protective custody and is placed in a nun so she wouldn’t be found. While there, her disco diva ways clash with the rigid lifestyle of the Mother Superior. To make herself more productive, she leads the choir and breathes life to a church that’s losing its relevance in the local community.

The musical is produced by Whoopi Goldberg and premiered on the West End in 2009. It premiered on Broadway in 2011, getting five nominations at the Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The musical doesn’t feature any of the songs from the films, but it more than makes up for it with a funky repertoire featuring Motown, soul, funk, and disco anthems. Some of my favorite numbers were the uplifting and danceable “Take Me to Heaven” and the soulful “I Could Be That Guy.” I would have to say that the best song was “When I Find My Baby,” the upbeat number with the dark lyrics, “And when I find that girl, I’m gonna kill that girl! I’m gonna wham! Bam! Blam! And drill that girl!”

The incredible setlist is care of Alan Menken, the award-winning composer who also wrote the music for Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, The Little Mermaid, and more.

The cast is just as glorious. Dene Hill played Van Cartier and she gave the role the sass, attitude, and vocal prowess required of the role. She clearly didn’t follow Goldberg’s portrayal in the films but it worked because she made the role her own. On the other hand, Sophie Kim played Sister Mary Robert like Wendy Makkena in the films, and she did amazing, too. Her timidity was  the great contrast to her impressive vocals, which she let loose in her breathtaking performance of “The Life I Never Led.”

The male performers did well, too. Brandon Godfrey as Van Cartier’s boyfriend Curtis Jackson was more funny than ominous, and Will T. Travis as the cop Eddie Souther was slick.

If you think a musical about nuns isn’t going to have a great set and wardrobe, think again. Yes, the set may be sparse, but a towering statue of Mother Mary was enough to set the tone of the musical. It has its own wardrobe change, too! As for the costumes, the nuns are mostly in their habit, but they do have a few tricks up their sleeve. Van Cartier delivers on all counts, but hey, she’s a stylish lounge singer.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sister Act because of nostalgia and the infectious songs. It’s been a week since I last saw the musical and I’m still listening to the funky and flashy songs, heaped with a lot of soul.

This post was made in partnership with Sister Act. The show runs from June 27 to July 9, 2017, at The Theatre at Solaire. Tickets are available at Ticketworld. For more information, visit Ovation Productions’ website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

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