Sister Act is Broadway’s feel-amazing musical comedy smash hit! The New York Post calls it “RIDICULOUSLY FUN”, and audiences are jumping to their feet in total agreement. Featuring unforgettable original music by eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop Of Horrors), Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and is hidden by the cops in the last place anyone would think to look—a convent! Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own in hilariously spectacular musical fashion.
Ray Hogg/Director Sister Act; Artistic Director, Rainbow Stage:
Sister Act is a beloved tale that centres around the dual ideas of finding your inner voice, as well as being loved and accepted for how you use that newfound voice. Many of us are familiar with the 1992 film which stars Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel, and the hilarious Kathy Najimy. The soundtrack of 50’s Motown girl group tunes, and gospel hits became a best-selling sensation, and the backdrop to many of our lives (especially those of us, who shall remain nameless, but love to sing in the shower).
When approached to adapt this contemporary classic film for the stage, composer Alan Menken decided that he too had to find his inner voice, and connect with the material in a re-imagined way. Rather than re-hash the music from the film’s soundtrack, Menken opted for a wholly original take on the story, and set the action in 1977 – the height of the disco era. Says Menken,
“My first thought, the first gut level decision I made, was ‘I’d like to do this in disco.’ It was a flashy era, with the disco balls, and sequins, very entertainment oriented and glitzy, and I thought it would really create a strong contrast between the world of show business and the world of the convent… Sister Act the Musical is a show that thrives on a high degree of energy, and disco really provides that.”
In the 1970’s many non-disco artists capitalized on the disco craze and released disco-themed albums (including Broadway legend Ethel Merman). First overseas, and then in North America, another Broadway became disco’s brightest star. While on tour in Germany with a production of the Broadway musical “Hair”, a young woman named LaDonna Adrian Gaines teamed up with legendary producers Giorgio Moroder (the inventor of the click track) and Pete Bellotte. An error at the printers for their first record saw her name changed to Donna Summer – the name stuck, and a star was born when the 17-minute demo track of a song called “Love to Love You Baby” was released in 1975.
Aside from the music scene (which of course included folk, rock, and experimental heavy metal), the 1970’s, dubbed “The Third Great Awakening”, were also an incredible time for social movements. Women found their voice through the Women’s Liberation Movement, Gays and Lesbians found their voice by refusing to be arbitrarily discriminated against by the authorities, and anti-war protesters finally had the call answered with the end of the Vietnam War.
It is against this backdrop of finding and raising ones voice, of heeding the call to live life to its fullest, and to proclaim that “nothing matters more than love” that we find ourselves when the curtain rises on Sister Act the Musical.
Photo by Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal