By Thom deMartino
The courage to stand up for what’s right may come from within, but the inspiration to do it may come from the humblest sources…
In Golden West College’s recent Mainstage Theater production of “Sister Act”, it’s 1977 in Philadelphia, the talented and aspiring vocalist Deloris Van Cartier (Imani Haze), is realizing that her career has reached a dead end – literally. After witnessing the murder of a “stoolie” committed by her boyfriend, club owner and local gang boss Curtis (Mark Torres), she’s forced to flee for her life, to the nearest police station, where she bumps into her old school acquaintance (and current detective) Eddie (Marcus Veyette).
Eddie – who has been harboring a long-time crush for Deloris explains that until she can testify against her former beau, the songstress is going to have to stay in hiding, undercover at the local convent, The Holy Order of the Little Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Faith until further notice, with the blessing of Monsignor O’Hara (Jay Harbison) – and much to the chagrin of Mother Superior (Megan Cherry), who doesn’t want the outside influence upon her cloistered sisters.
Not that life in the nunnery is idyllic, far from it: for as hard as the sisters try, their choir is – well, let’s just say it would try Job’s patience to listen to them for longer than a moment. Meanwhile, Deloris herself is suffering culture shock, having been told by Mother Superior that if she’s to masquerade as one of the sisterhood, she must act like one: no swearing, smoking, or any other scandalous behavior that might influence the other nuns (including the impressionable youngest petitioner, Sister Mary Robert, played by Ally Teeples.)
But perhaps Deloris –or “Sister Mary Clarence”, that is – can find some way to contribute and keep busy with her musically-challenged companions, despite Mother Superior’s fervent protests… As Curtis’s goons are gradually closing in…
While the Martie Ramm-directed “Sister Act” has already concluded its run, it was a phenomenal spectacle for audiences in its near-packed performances – and, as with other Golden West productions, one wishes the run of shows might be extended just a little longer. The comedic and melodic talents of the chorus of nuns – too numerous to name here, unfortunately – reflect their individual quirks and characters, particularly the seemingly over-caffeinated Sister Mary Patrick (Sharon Rae Massey) and Sister Mary Lazarus (Sarah Cabrera).
But the vocal talents are not limited to the sisters, such as Cherry’s Mother Superior (in “I Haven’t Got A Prayer,” for instance) – the other supporting cast has their own standout moments, including Veyette’s Eddie, as the audience is made privy to his secret desire to be cool and not just the awkward “Sweaty Eddie” from high school, in the fantastic number “I Could Be That Guy,” and Torres’ menacing Curtis in the dark “When I Find My Baby”… Not to mention the slapstick of his goons TJ, Joey and Pablo (Lewis Humphrey, Logan Hiveley and Jake Montiero, respectively) and their surprisingly rousing and almost-suave “Lady In the Long Black Dress.”
But the most overwhelming performances of the show belonged to its star, Imani Haze, both solo and with the rest of the talented ensemble of nuns: from the revamped reprise of her nightclub standard “Take Me to Heaven” reworked for the sisters of the convent to the fun and flashy “Sunday Morning Fever,” or even the touching and reflective titular number “Sister Act,” Haze’s singing and acting talents are something to behold.
While “Sister Act” may have finished its run, there are a number of projects in the works for the upcoming season at Golden West College: and if this recent production is any indication, audiences have much to look forward to in the coming new year.
“Sister Act”, Imani Haze, Megan Cherry and Marcus Veyette starred in this recently-completed run of the musical version of the popular film about an aspiring singer both hiding and finding herself. Played at Golden West College’s Mainstage Theater, 15751 Gothard St, Huntington Beach, CA 92647. Tickets for other productions available through the box office at 714-895-8150, x1 or at www.gwctheater.com.
Categories: Arts & Leisure