by Terrance Mc Arthur
Remember the Whoopie Goldberg movie Sister Act? You know, the one where a Vegas club singer witnesses a murder, and has to go into witness protection in a convent full of nuns? They made a musical out of it, and Sister Act is currently playing at the Reedley Opera House as a River City Theatre Company production through December 19.
The stage version, transplanted to a Philadelphia setting, sports music by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid), lyrics by Glenn Slater (School of Rock), and a script by Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner, and Douglas Carter Beane.
Cassandra C. Charles is sassy, proud, and a fish out of water as Deloris Cartier, changing her high lifestyle for cloistered habits. She can belt out disco, soar through gospel, and touch the heart with ballads that explore her own feelings.
Not only did Ken Stocks direct, design, and light the show, he plays Curtis, Deloris’s boss/lover/person who wants her dead. In the song “When I Find My Baby,” he segues from longing for his love to listing the ways he could kill her. It’s a chilling moment…but it sure is funny.
Christopher Weirick is Eddie, the detective trying to protect Deloris, while hiding the love for her that he has had since they were kids. His rumpled, Columbo-like exterior falls away during his song “I Could Be That Guy.”
Charity Thoneson makes an imposing Mother Superior, disapproving of Deloris and her worldly ways. She provides a firm foil to Charles.Holly Salcido plays the convent novice Sister Mary Roberts, who questions her faith and commitment to the habit in “The Life I Never Led.” Chris Geise is the Monsignor infected by the show-biz bug, donning glam vestments and revving up the congregation for the holy-pop choir Doloris creates. Israel Mendoza and Steven Haynes provide goofy comedy as thugs working for Curtis.
The set is a basic black box with needed tables, chairs, and desks, supplemented by projections of stained glass windows and pictures of clubs and other locations to provide atmosphere. The show is scaled down in size to fit the Opera House’s small stage but it still has a large heart.
Reedley Opera House is at 1720 10th St., Reedley, CA. For ticket information, check the RCTC website.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean. A new Christmas episode went up this week.
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