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Arts and Entertainment

Springfield Little Theatre Brings Stage Version of Hit Movie 'Sister Act' to Landers Theatre

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(Poster design courtesy Springfield Little Theatre)
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Springfield Little Theatre has just opened its production of the stage-musical version of the 1992 film comedy Sister Act at the Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut.  The production runs through April 3rd: Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm, with two additional Saturday 2:30pm matinees on March 26 and April 2.

Director Chuck Rogers discussed some of the differences between the Whoopi Goldberg film and this stage version: for one thing there's more music (by Alan Menken) of course; and Delores is a lounge singer (and "disco queen") from Philadelphia rather than Reno, Nevada in the original movie.  The basic plotline is the same, though.  Whereas she's already performing at a Reno casino in the film, here "she's trying to find a job in a bar, and that's where she hooks up with her boyfriend, who's a world-class mobster in Philadelphia."  Otherwise the plot is quite similar: "She sees some things she's not supposed to see," says Chuck.  The police place Delores in protective custody in a place they figure the mob would never look for her: a convent.

Niki Calloway, who plays Delores, calls her both "a lounge singer and a 'disco diva'.  She's super-fabulous--she's got big hair, big nails, sparkly gowns, she doesn't take 'no' for an answer.  She's a huge presence--she doesn't back down."

Judy Luxton plays the Mother Superior at the convent, who provides Delores's new identity of "Sister Mary Clarence." Chuck Rogers says she's "a disco diva in her own right!"--although I'm not sure if he's talking about Mother Superior or Judy Luxton.... Both he and Niki emphasize that the character is formidable, even "terrifying."  Delores, of course, has a great deal of difficulty adjusting to the rigid convent lifestyle, and she constantly finds herself at odds with the uptight Mother Superior.  Chuck Rogers adds, "She (Mother Superior) thinks if she puts Delores in charge of the convent's lousy choir, that'll kind of keep her busy.  What Delores does is, she decides that the choir is going to make some money for the church, and so Delores turns the choir into a major recording force. And all of a sudden the Pope wants to come here them sing because they're so brilliant." 

Obviously, being in witness protection, the last thing Delores needs is this kind of notoriety.  Niki Calloway agrees the mob wouldn't think to look for her in a convent--that is, "if she wasn't so large and in-charge, and didn't wind up on television!  But she loves it--she loves every single moment of it." Add Chuck Rogers, "We have a lot of great sequined nun outfits.  If you've never seen a sequined nun outfit, you're gonna see 15 of them!" "They get 'fabulous' too," says Niki.

The show will be performed Easter Sunday the 27th at 2:30pm, according to director Chuck Rogers. "So after you have your Easter dinner or your egg hunt, put the kids in the car and come on down, because we're pretty family-friendly." In fact, they had a house full of kids for the pre-opening-night preview performance last Thursday, and Niki Calloway reports that "they were just dancing--it was awesome."

Chuck wanted to give a special shout-out to the rest of the cast. "We have one of the hardest-working ensembles of singers and dancers that I've ever had the pleasure of working with in 30 years." The cast includes both LT veterans and "newbies." "They are amazing, they really are," adds Niki Calloway. "And even in ensemble, they're not just 'ensemble' characters: they each are their own specific character. They have their own (back) story if you just pay attention."

For tickets, call the Landers box office at 869-1334 or visit http://www.springfieldlittletheatre.org.