You've probably seen the movie Sister Act, starring the infamous Whoopie Goldberg. Now this fun-loving flick has come to the stage in a whirlwind musical filled with mirth and song at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center.
Deloris Van Cartier is an aspiring singer who is having an illicit affair with her married boss Curtis, played by Richard Gray, in 1970's Philadelphia. Curtis is awash in criminal activity and Deloris witnesses him committing a murder. To protect her from harm, her high school friend Eddie, who is now the cop in charge of the case, hides her in the most unlikely of places – a convent!
Elizabeth Adabale plays Deloris with pomp and style, and her voice was incredible. She sashays her way across the stage, and we are all rooting for her. Elizabeth graduated from USC and has played roles such as Pennywise in Urinetown, Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray, and The Witch in Into the Woods.
The music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Glenn Slater make for a fun show, especially with songs like “Take Me to Heaven,” and “Sister Act.”
The nuns in the show were hilarious. Their personalities shined through. Especially in the forefront was the Mother Superior, played by Stephanie Lesh-Farrell. She is dismayed by taking in Deloris and the effect that action has on her charges. She displays her voice in “Haven't Got a Prayer.” We see her loosen up and change as Deloris matures and grows.
Deloris, while first unhappy with her hideout and being disguised as a nun, comes to love her “sisters” when she is placed in the convent's choir – which needs some major help! Her spunk and talent awaken the nuns to spirituality that is also fun, and Deloris learns there is more to life than she had thought beforehand. It's wonderful to see the characters develop and progress. Sister Mary Robert, played by Julianne Sillona, steals the show as the quiet novice who comes into her own under Deloris' influence. Her breakout performance is “The Life I Never Led,” and her voice was just gorgeous.
Eddie, played by Jeremey Whatley, is the good guy that we are all want to see succeed, especially when he shows us the love he has for Deloris in “I Could Be That Guy.” The romance in the show was a sweet addition.
Curtis, and his baddie accomplices Joey (Philip McBride), Pablo (Agusto Guardado – who mostly spoke in Spanish to full comic effect), and TJ (Alexander Reaves) play their roles to perfection, and the show is a riot, with nuns running all throughout the theatre in order to escape the trio!
As well, don't forget the fun-loving Monsignor O'Hara (Chris Clonts) and the rest of the nuns, Sister Mary Martin of Tours (Mary Alice Brady), Sister Mary Theresa (Alexandra Gonzales), Sister Mary Patrick (Bryca Hamilton), and Sister Mary Lazarus (Sindy McKay). The ensemble cast rounded out the performance.
All in all, Sister Act is a true “holy roller” filled with laughter, love and a spirit that shines through! This funky, funny and Motown-inspired romp was packed to the brim with entertainment.
Sister Act runs through February 18, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday, plus 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 15 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 17 at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 E. Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. For tickets and information call (805) 583-7900 or log onto www.simi-arts.org