The 1992 film "Sister Act" starring Whoopi Goldberg is now a big splashy Broadway musical. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
Here we go again. Another film to stage adaptation, but this one's switched it up a bit. "Sister Act," the 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg featured a jukebox songbook of disco era tunes. On Broadway, the music is all original and Whoopi is now the producer. How does it rate? Let's just say it's hard to resist when the sisters and a few brothers make such a joyful noise.
The story is innocuous. Set in the 70's, Deloris Van Cartier is an aspiring singer who happens to witness her thug boyfriend commit a murder. With her life in danger, she's sent by a cop to a convent where she's disguised as a nun. The devout Mother Superior is willing to go along with the plan until Deloris injects some soul into the pious choir. Of course Deloris' musical makeover is a big hit and, well, you know the rest.
Tongue-in-cheek nun stories are certainly nothing new, but this show's salvation is some very savvy producing. The songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater are clever variations on recognizable disco tunes from the era. They also help to quicken the show's pace by advancing the familiar plot.
The book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner with additional material credited to Douglas Carter Beane features what sounded like a lot of Beane's trademark humor and brilliant zingers.
Veteran director Jerry Zaks is the perfect choice to helm this silly confection, balancing the fluff with sentiment. And he's got a great space in that giant stain-glassed church setting.
Casting is spot on as well. Everyone delivers. But best of all Patina Miller and Victoria Clark -- a delicious blend of sweet and sour. In Miller a star is born. She's Whoopi with a golden voice. And Clark's virtuosity keeps this lighter-than-air show happily down to earth.
As frothy entertainment, "Sister Act" gets our blessing. Just don't expect a religious experience.