Community Theatre Review: SISTER ACT with Players Club of Swarthmore

The Players Club of Swarthmore ends their 2018 – 2019 mainstage season with an electric production of Sister Act the Musical.   Based on the successful 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, it is a show of many epiphanies.  Most of the characters come to a realization by the end of the fun.  The musical is written by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner with lyrics by Glen Slater and music by Alan Menken.

Director Brian Walsh fills the stage with vocal energy, crisp pacing, and clever choreography.  He is ably complemented by Music Director Ryan Goulden, Lighting Designer/Producer Anne Marie Scalies, Choreographer Emma Bradley Dingle, Set Designer Stephen Wisely, Sound Designer Karen Cook and Costume Designer Vinny Cavallaro.  It is clearly a collaborative effort that brings such success to the production.

Nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier (Jasmine Bryant) witnesses her gangster boyfriend Curtis (John Paul Cappiello) murdering someone and goes to the police for protection.  There she is reconnected with Officer Eddie Souther (Alfred Lance). He places her into witness protection at a failing convent confident that the gangsters will never find her there.  She is immediately disruptive to convent life, but she also brings a joy that has been lacking.  She and the Mother Superior (Deirdre McGettigan Henry) knock heads, but soon become allies in saving both Deloris and the convent through song.

Walsh has assembled a top-notch cast. As Deloris/”Sister Mary Clarence”, Jasmine Nicole Bryant brings a bright sense of sassiness to capture the humor to this character.  She is counterpointed by a fabulous Deirdre McGettigan Henry as Mother Superior.  She has a wonderful voice and a real understanding of her character.  Paul Kerrigan as Monsignor O’Hara provides both perspective and laughs to the festivities.  He is joined by the gangster’s henchmen who are genuinely funny.  T.J. (Neil Kirschling), Joey (John Dingle) and Pablo (Randino Del Rosario) bring hilarity each time they are on stage.

Although the entire convent acquits themselves admirably, three nuns have exciting moments.  Kat Lemon as Sister Mary Patrick brings ebullient energy each time she steps up front, Doris Chan as Sister Mary Lazarus has several great moments to stand out, and Abigail Gorman as Sister Mary Robert is solid in the musical numbers.

Sister Act continues until Saturday May 4th.  It is very well worth the effort.  For tickets:

Photos by Rose E. Azrael


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