Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

‘Sister Act’ at Schuster Center

By Brian P. Sharp

Photo: “Sister Act” runs at the Schuster Center Jan. 28 through Feb. 2 photo: Joan Marcus

The Schuster Center is going to be home to “Sister Act” – the musical comedy made famous by the movie with the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg. “Sister Act” garnered five Tony Award nominations after opening on Broadway. “Sister Act” features an original score – not the same music from the movie – by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner (of Cheers fame) with additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane. This musical sees musical inspiration from Motown to funk and soul to disco!

Most of us remember the story – Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder and then is placed in witness protection in a convent. Deloris begins to question the strict requirements she is being held to and certainly butts head with the Mother Superior. Deloris manages to bring a new life to the convent and – most importantly – to the choir. In the process, she also blows her cover.

While this story seems to be about Deloris, there is another story that speaks to the world we live in today – a world filled with change. Sometimes those changes challenge us to the core, to our very being – sometimes they challenge everything we believe in. Sometimes it’s not the world changing around us, but rather us changing the world.

I once heard a famous quote: “We must be the change we wish to see in this world.” That quote really speaks to some of the changes taking place, not only in the convent and the choir, but also in the lives of Deloris and the Mother Superior. This is a feel good show for everyone and a perfect thing do to on a winter evening.

I had the chance to chat with Lynne Wintersteller, who is playing the Mother Superior. Wintersteller is nothing short of amazing. About five minutes into the conversation, I felt like I was talking to an old friend. Wintersteller starred in “A Grand Night For Singing,” the Rodgers and Hammerstein revue that received a Tony nomination. She also received a NY Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in “Closer Than Ever.” Wintersteller had a long run in “Annie,” actually working in three tours in the role of Grace Farrell. She was in the tour of the revival of “Company” as Sarah. Wintersteller has now settled into the national tour of “Sister Act.” Wintersteller is no stranger to Ohio, as she did her master’s work at the Ohio State University.

Wintersteller is also not a stranger to a Mother Superior. “I worked on the Altar Society at my Catholic Church as a child and was around nuns that were totally covered and certainly didn’t boogie down.” Wintersteller said “I love the heart of Mother Superior.” While the Mother Superior is certainly a stern taskmaster, Wintersteller explained, “She also loves and protects her beliefs, the church and certainly her nuns – including Deloris.”

Wintersteller said this show sells out everywhere and has recently been selling out in New Orleans. Wintersteller admitted there is certainly a “Sister Act” brand and a following.

“This is not the same old music from the movie – and there is not a bad number in the show,” Wintersteller said. “This is an entertaining spiritual.”

While it seems Deloris is going a different direction than the Mother Superior, they get to the same place – the one big difference is that Deloris has a painted face and is wearing high heels.

“Anyone that is interested in this career [acting] should – do it.” Get a group of supportive friends, audition for everything, start local, do community theater, do advertising work, just get out there and have fun. Wintersteller said this is truly a rewarding experience. I, for one, can’t wait to see this show! There is nothing like a foot-stomping, feel-good musical to wash away the winter blues.

There will also be some extra experiences to enjoy during “Sister Act.” At the performances on Thursday January 30 at 7 p.m. and at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 on the 4th floor of the Schuster Center lobby you can enjoy a preshow chat about the production history, musical highlights and insider humor. Additionally, on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. you can enjoy a wine flight from the Save Me San Francisco Wine Company the wines have titles from three of the rock band Train’s Top 40 hits: “Drops of Jupiter,” “Soul Sister” and “Calling All Angels.” Tickets to the preshow flights can be purchased separately and are $10 each – you must also have a ticket to that night’s performance. These tickets can also be purchased at the box office.

“Sister Act” will run from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2. This is a limited engagement. You don’t have a lot of chances to see this show, so make your plans now!

 

The Victoria Theatre Association presents “Sister Act” Tuesday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Feb. 2 at the Schuster Performing Arts Center, 1 W. Second St. runs at the Tickets are available from $25-$96, plus service fees. To purchase tickets, please call 937.228.3630can or visit  ticketcenterstage.com.

 

Reach DCP freelance writer Brian P. Sharp at BrianSharp@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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