Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
A mother feeds her child with a peanut-based paste for treatment of severe acute malnutrition at a hospital Jan. 20 in Juba, South Sudan. South Sudan's Catholic bishops asked for the world's help to p...

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Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Representatives from small groups give the final message from the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements Feb. 19 in Modesto, Calif. (CNS photo/Dennis Sadowski) MODESTO, Calif. (CNS) -- Affi...

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Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Pope Francis greets a new priest during the ordination Mass of 11 priests in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 17, 2016. The pope warned against using the church in pursuit of personal ambitio...

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Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Pope Francis delivers his blessing to an overflow crowd gathered outside St. Mary Josefa Church after celebrating Mass at the parish in Rome Feb. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) ROME (CNS) -- A practica...

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Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Written by Shelley Wolf
Alicia Fleming, sales assistant for the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, laughs with a client while serving desserts at the South Park Inn in Hartford.(Photo by Shelley Wolf) ...

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Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says
Pope receives a stuffed animal from a participant in the Special Olympics during a meeting Feb. 16 at the Vatican. The Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Austria March 14-25. (CNS pho...

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South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine
Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Grass-roots leaders join call for 'disrupting' oppression that hurts many
Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says
Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you
Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Employees of archdiocese volunteer to bring meals and good cheer to the homeless
Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says
Special Olympians show world that 'every person is a gift,' pope says

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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.

 

 

 

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