Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Msgr. Vincenzo De Gregorio, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, is pictured at an organ at the institute in Rome Dec. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)   VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- 'Tis t...

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Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Written by Jack Sheedy
Left, people gather to watch firefighters attack the blaze as it rages near the towers of the cathedral. The roof eventually collapsed after being completely involved in flames. At right, firefighters...

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Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Written by Mary Chalupsky
German Nativity scene by Egon Wolfsgruber is placed inside a barrel with polychrome wood figurines. (Photo courtesy of the Knights of Columbus Museum)  NEW HAVEN – With its ancestral heritage, c...

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Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) – On Wednesday, Pope Francis added world famous director Martin Scorsese to the list of Hollywood stars he has welcomed for a private meeting in the Vatican, following a...

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Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
John Slattery and Nathan Lane in “The Front Page” (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)NEW YORK – Because of Nathan Lane’s presence in the cast,  the revival of “The Front Page” has attracted attention an...

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Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Written by Mary Chalupsky
Nicholas Renouf, director of music at St. Mary Church in New Haven or four decades, accompanies the Schola Cantorum during a noon Sunday Mass at St. Mary recently. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky) NEW HAVEN...

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Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Written by Administrator
Campaign photo for the 2016 Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which will take place Dec. 10-11 in most parishes. (Photo by Jim Judkis) WASHINGTON – The annual Retirement Fund for Religious ...

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Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t

Latest Commentary

ARCHBISHOP

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LOCAL

HARTFORD – Reverend Ivan Dario Ramirez and Reverend Israel Rivera have been incardinated in the Archdiocese of Hartford by Archbishop...

WORLD

Women religious gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 23, the day the high court heard oral arguments...

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Gabrielle Union and Colman Domingo star in a scene from the movie "The Birth of a Nation." (CNS photo/Fox) NEW...

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YOUTH

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sister-actPatina Miller, center, plays Sister Deloris in the Broadway stage version of ‘Sister Act’ presented at the Broadway Theatre.

NEW YORK – "Sister Act" is the latest Hollywood brand to get the Broadway musical treatment. Based on the successful 1992 movie, the musical of "Sister Act" turns out to be a contender: a fun time that sets out to do nothing more than entertain. It is playing at the Broadway Theatre at 53rd Street and Broadway.

"Sister Act" on stage has pretty much the same flavor that it did on screen except that on stage it has music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and a new book written by no less than three writers, Cheri and Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane.

The setting has been changed from 1960s Reno to 1970s Philadelphia and the score, with a couple of exceptions, is mostly generic Motown-inspired music of the period.

The show’s star is the remarkable Patina Miller, who plays black singer Deloris Van Cartier, later Sister Deloris, who witnesses a murder. To save her life, she takes cover as a nun in a local convent, landing in the one community on the planet occupied by only tone-deaf nuns.

Not only does Ms. Miller don a habit, but she performs a miracle: she teaches the nuns to sing. The story does have shades of "The Sound of Music" in reverse.

Ms. Miller, who played the role of Deloris for a year in London, is a dazzling presence, a glorious singer who keeps the show moving at a hurricane pace. Her sisters in the community – and there is a whole choir of them – play it all with tongue in cheek, capering through all sorts of "Sister Act" nonsense in high spirits. Not only do they make the story amusing, but they keep it that way for two acts.

Working in tandem with Ms. Miller is her co-star, the convent’s mother superior, Victoria Clark, another extraordinary talent, who won a Tony a few years ago for "The Light in the Piazza." She steers clear of the cliché of being an overbearing authority figure and gives a nice, modulated performance. We have the treat of hearing her fine voice take flight in four Menken/Slater songs. No vocally challenged mother superior is Ms. Clark.

Jerry Zaks, an old hand from the faster, funnier school of direction, has staged the proceedings broadly with a sense of fun. Anthony Van Laast has created lively, if not distinctive, choreography. The costumes by Lez Brotherston, particularly the nuns’ habits, get flashier with each new song number.

"Sister Act" may not be a work of art, but it is a lot of heaven-sent revelry.

Bernard Carragher lives in New York and covers the arts.