'Sister Act' creates wow moment for Pratt Tribune reveiw columnist Brandon Case
Standout performances by main characters and an entire cast and production crew that was competly on target made Pratt High School’s recent musical, “Sister Act,” a phenomenal success this past weekend at Liberty Middle School Auditorium.
Alyssa Green played her role of Deloris Van Cartier (aka Sister Mary Clarence) to perfection as a nightclub singer who went into the witness protection program (or its 1970s equivalent, anyway), hiding out in a convent after witnessing a murder committed by her boyfriend, Curtis, portrayed by Kaden Barker. Barker also did a convincing job as the quintessential mobster boss/nightclub owner.
This PHS production wonderfully captured the collision between the secular and the spiritual, and Jenna Haas, the opposite of Van Cartier as Mother Superior, portrayed well the humble servant of God, who loosened up a bit by the end of the drama.
The plot unfolded like this: Van Cartier arrives at the nunnery and obviously stands out in her glittering, red sequin dress. One hilarious moment was when Green, soon after her arrival, put her own secular spin on the traditional Catholic blessing upon the meal (for Catholics who have blessed their food a hundred times plus with that standard mealtime prayer, it surely brought a smile). Early in the musical, Monsignor O’ Hara brings Mother Superior the bad news that the convent will soon be closing due to low attendance at mass (which also means meager offerings in the collection basket). At first, Mother Superior doesn’t know that to do with her new nun, who tries the leader’s patience and disrupts the order of things. So, she assigns Sister Clarence to the choir.
The choir will never be the same again. Anyway, let it be said that the once mediocre choir raises their voices (incidentally, one of the numbers) and simultaneously praises God in a wholly different way.
You’ll have to catch a production of Sister Act on the Internet or, better yet, live to find out what happens thereafter. Needless to say, the revamped choir plays a key role in the fate of the convent.
That 1970s groove and vibe is created well throughout the play by the musicianship of Brandon Wade, Grace May, and Mark Green. As well, for those who grew up or otherwise lived during that decade, there are many fun, 1970s pop culture references sprinkled throughout.
Some standout, supporting performances included Sadie Green as Sister Mary Martin-of-Tours, capturing well a visionary nun in her faraway gaze and spiritual non sequiturs. Also, Jack Barker as Joey, one of Curtis’ henchmen, humorously demonstrated the classic, 1970s ladies’ man for his fellow thugs, through song and dance moves, as he explained how he would seduce his way into the convent. Cade Hopkins also did a great job as the practical, financially-focused Monsignor O’ Hara, who got down and boogied by the end of the show. Finally, the triple breakaway costume worn by Dawson Malone (which was, incidentally, created by his grandmother) was a technical masterpiece, and Dawson also had a great talent for doing splits.
Director Arica Malone and supporters once again pulled of a difficult choice with grace and refinement.
For all of the actors and actresses who weren’t mentioned by name, much applause to their hard work and the beautiful fruits of labor as viewed on stage.