By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

If there was ever a wholly committed cast to a small theatrical production, Casa 0101’s Sister Act directed by Rigo Tejeda and musically directed by Gabrielle Maldonado ranks a 1000%. The actors really shine…actually they glitter. (lol)

Sister Act for the stage is a bit of a deviation from the 1992 American film comedy written by Joseph Howard, with musical arrangements by Marc Shaiman which starred Whoopi Goldberg as lounge-singer-on-the-run, Deloris Van Cartier. The actual musical premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA in 2006 and went on to London’s West End then later to Broadway in 2011. Frankly, it’s a lot campier and a lot less reverent to our favorite singing nuns when you really listen to the slightly sister-bashing lyrics in the earliest scenes, but worldwide to date, it’s been a musical favorite. So, it’s only fitting that it should return home to California at Casa 0101 for a glittery re-mount that is downright hilarious to the core. Seriously, the costumes play a starring role. You’ve got to see this.

According to artistic director Josefina Lopez, “This production also celebrates women, power, and sisterhood…”, and overall it certainly does really from the top of the show to the brave screwball finale when the nuns tightly band together and stand up to mobster Curtis Jackson when he arrives to kill Deloris before she can testify against him for murder.

Jacqueline Lorraine Schofield
Photo by Ed Krieger

But let’s back up…Sister Act, the Musical, tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier (Jacqueline Lorraine Schofield), a disco nightclub diva, who witnessed a murder by her mobster boyfriend, after which Deloris is placed in a witness protection program. The catch is that it’s in a nunnery. The last place she would ever want to be, and definitely the last place Mother Superior would want to have her, until she accidentally finds a newfound talent that not only brings the convent back to life but back to the world on the outside and the sisters into a fulfillment of their purpose with Deloris discovering her own sort of calling as well…and a lot of true friends and sisters she has never had ever before. It’s wonderful.

The entire cast really steps it up in this production. So many talented singers. Fantastically delivered comedic bits and suave musical moments. Beverly Crain as Mother Superior truly guides the temperance of the story, while Dorrie Braun as Sister Mary Lazarus practically channels her screen counterpart but with even more rebellious revelry. All the women here are simply dedicated to the script, direction, and choreography that makes this show incredibly entertaining throughout. And kudos to the men for living through the 70s costumes, wigs and more. Omar Mata as Monsignor O’Hara is one of the funnier surprises of the evening. Mr. Mata really thrives as the bling-transformed priest on a mission to save his Church. Caleb Green as police officer Eddie Souther and (wants to be so badly) love interest pulls off one of the best solo numbers in the show.

It is, however, Schofield who brings the show home with every single number of the evening, and delivers on both the comedy and transformation aspects and not to be dismissed…awesomely outlandish day wear.
Delightful and fun.

Recommended.

Starring (in alphabetical order): Jacqueline Lorraine Schofield, Beverly Crain, Samantha M. Lawrence, Omar Mata, Marco Infante, Caleb Green, Matthew Noah, Jason Biyo, Gil Garcia, Dorrie Braun, Briana Bonilla, Sarah J. Garcia, Megan Frances, Chrissi Erickson, Laura Altenor, Michael Gallardo, Alejandro Lechuga, Shanell Garcia, Daniela Santi, and Leilah Telon.

Directed by Rigo Tejeda
Choreography by Tania Possick
Costume Design by Marielena Covarrubias
Sets and Projections by Effy Yizhou Yang
Lighting Design by Kevin Eduardo Vasquez
Sound Design by Joshua Cardena
Production Stage Manager is Jerry A. Blackburn and Stage Manager is Andrew Ortega

Photo (above) by Ed Krieger: (center wearing bandana) Dorrie Braun (Sister Mary Lazarus) with Nuns

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