'Sister Act' shows strength of sisterhood
With dancing, singing and a whole lot of fun, "Sister Act" at The Phipps is a spirited performance that welcomes audience members in as if they were a member of the congregation.
The musical comedy follows aspiring club singer Deloris Van Cartier, played by Kayla Kauffman, as she, after witnessing a murder, is forced into the one place no one would ever expect her to go — a convent.
Deloris' spunky, live life to the fullest personality quickly butts heads with Mother Superior, played by Janice Murphy Roman, who is less than pleased to have such a woman among her sisters.
The nuns, however, quickly become fans of the new sister, as she takes the lead of their off-pitch choir, transforming them into powerful, funky singers with a few moves to show off.
As Deloris makes her mark, cop Eddie, played by Matthew Hall, struggles to hide the diva from the men after her.
The Phipps' production of "Sister Act" is just plain fun, packed full of great music, lively dancing and plenty of humor.
The beat flows through the whole musical, and audience members will find themselves tapping their feet and swaying to the music throughout the show.
Kauffman brings all of Deloris' big personality to the stage, beautifully balancing her diva desires with the softer love that develops for the sisters she meets.
The show explores the power of sisterhood, in all its forms. Deloris, despite her aversion to the convent, finds she can have a divine impact on the women living there, helping them find their voices and their ways.
Her impact is perhaps seen most through Sister Mary Robert, played by Alexi Solheid, whose youthful obedience is shaken by Deloris' outlook on life. Solheid captures the innocence, and fierceness, of the character as she creates her own path.
Deloris' confrontations with Mother Superior, balanced by Kauffman and Roman, show that though their ways are vastly different, their values share a common thread of love.
Though the focus is on sisterhood, the men of the performance deserve praise as well.
Matthew Hall brings an unassuming, approachable charm to Eddie, Deloris' would-be protector and suitor. His sweet nature is easy to root for, as he tries to shake his nervousness and be that guy he wants to be.
Deloris' murderous ex Curtis, played by Joe Johnson, and his gang of henchman played by Stephen Neff, Mike Brown and Bruce Bell-Myers bring both the tense fear and the comedic relief to the production.
"Sister Act" runs weekends through Nov. 25, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays.