What do you get when you combine a showgirl, a gangster, and a bunch of nuns? Though it seems like a joke in need of a punchline, it’s really the premise for one of Broadway’s funniest modern musicals, Sister Act. The original West End production (in 2009) was co-produced by Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the 1992 film of the same name. A rollicking success in London led to an equally well-received Broadway run two years later, and since then the show has been on stages across the country–including The Wick Theatre in Boca Raton.
The Wick’s production, which runs through December 23, is nothing short of heavenly. That’s owed largely to the cheeky wit and unrelenting energy of Patrece Bloomfield, who plays Deloris Van Cartier. Deloris is a budding singer with a taste for bling (those pink sparkly boots, though!), but she’s held down by her two-timing gangster boyfriend, Curtis Jackson (Don Seward). When she witnesses Curtis putting a bullet through a man’s head, she has no choice but to go into hiding. The policeman, “Sweaty” Eddie Souther (Andre Russell), hides her in a nearby convent, much to the dismay of Mother Superior (Danette Cuming). Mother Superior confiscates Deloris’ mini dress and pink boots, handing her a habit instead—and that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Patrece Bloomfield and the cast of Sister Act.
The habit may disguise Deloris’ flesh, but it can’t hide her sass—or her ignorance about the word of God. The sisters don’t know what to make of her. But then choir practice rolls around, and it’s obvious that the sinner was heaven-sent to get those pathetic voices in line. In one of the show’s most hilarious moments, Deloris leads the nuns in a reprise of her own song, “Take Me to Heaven,” which doesn’t exactly speak of the place in the clouds. Ahem.
The musical performances are so joyful, they’re, well, habit-forming. Little wonder the cast of Sister Act received a standing ovation on opening night. They all sang their hearts out and kept the audience in stitches with their antics. The tagline is “A Divine Musical Comedy,” and it’s exactly that.