This afternoon, I received a lovely email from the performing arts office here at Emerson. Someone here has a connection to the producers of Sister Act, and Emerson was given a number of complimentary tickets for the final weekend of the show’s run. I was lucky enough to snag one of those tickets for this evening. So, this was more of a surprise visit to the theatre. So, this is the touring cast of the Broadway production of Sister Act.
I had heard very little about this production, and went into the Boston Opera House with absolutely no expectations. I didn’t know the story line, I just knew there were dancing nuns and some pretty great music. This production had ampul nuns and great music.
Overall, this show was really enjoyable. It started out really slow. There’s a lot of background information to cover in the beginning of the story, which slowed things down until the middle of Act I when the first company number takes place, and boy that was a wake up call. Very loud. Great music for the soul.
Being me, I really only focused on the lighting and the staging of the production. There were a few things that caught my eye during the performance.
-Followspots: Every time somebody had a solo, it was in a followspot. The ENTIRE SHOW, there was a followspot running. For most of the show, I think, the lighting designer opted to program moving lights to hit a particular place on the stage when the actor needed to be spotted. In some of the scenes when there was a lot of dialogue, I feel like that would have needed an operator. I have come to the conclusion that some characters must have been wearing a device like AutoPilot II to pinpoint their stage location so the moving lights can find them. It was intuitive, but I thought there was too much spotlight.
-The Rundown Old Church: Before Act II and the scene when the restoration of the church happens, the interior of the sanctuary is supposed to appear rundown and broken in some ways. The set designer chose to show this using a series of plywood panels covering some of the light fixtures that also acted as a wall. I thought a few lights had perhaps broken during the touring of this production, because the set did not signify a rundown old church. It still looked shiny before the restoration.
-Scrims and Scrims: There was a lot of rippling on the scrims. There was one scene where a scrim flew out behind a scrim, and I could see everything. That was just annoying.
-Deloris forgot almost a whole verse of “Fabulous, Baby!”
-Best part of the show: When the pit conductor became the pope in the final number of the show. That really cracked me up 🙂
Not a show I would see again, unfortunately. Still has awesome music and a great cast, although the story is really beaten to death. Everything was very predictable. If you have the opportunity to go see it for free, definitely go.
Just thought I’d throw in that other critics agree with me that the show starts very slow. Carolyn Clay of The Phoenix Magazine writes:
“For much of the first half of Sister Act, I prayed that the show would take off. And thank God (and gobs of glitter) it does –“