Spirited, Joyous, Soulful
The people have spoken. They wildly endorse the cast and production of Sister Act. The play runs September 16-October 16, 2016 in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre at Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP). This Broadway smash musical comedy, based on the 1992 blockbuster movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, held the near capacity crowd’s attention for 2+ hours Preview Night, September 15, 2016. The toe-tapping music, finely tuned choreography, well-timed set changes and captivating story line not only entertained but also demanded audience participation throughout.
From the moment Zhomontee Watson, starring as Deloris Van Cartier, a witness to a murder who’s placed in a convent for her own safety, hits the stage, her dominating presence is felt in words and song. She whips the nuns into master singers good enough to entertain the Pope. And, she leaves the audience standing and cheering at the play’s end as if the Nebraska Huskers finally scored in the last few seconds of the fourth quarter to win a football game.
But Watson wasn’t alone in her stage dominance. The entire cast, orchestra and supporting crew were brilliant. Standout performers were “Sweaty Eddie” played by Marcel Daly, Mother Superior played by Judy Anderson and Sister Mary Robert played by Melissa King. The scene where Eddie imagines a life other than a police officer was dazzlingly performed and showcased the depth of his vocal and dance talent. Anderson was a convincing Mother Superior, especially relatable to Catholics. Her voice, oh, her voice-a gift from God. Her well-timed and delivered lines were believable and often left the audience in laughter. Playing Sister Mary Robert, King left no doubt that she’d find her way in life, having met and been influenced by streetwise Deloris. Her voice was pitch perfect. Her innocence and vulnerability obvious.
During Intermission guests were overheard talking about the humor, energy and spirit in the Theatre. Some commented about Monsignor’s (Cork Ramer) deep voice and the swagger and dance moves of the mobster actors.
Vanessa Moore, a Methodist Health System Emergency Room Technician, who’s acted in plays and seen many OCP productions, proclaimed “Watson’s amazing. I love that she’s a local actress.” Even though she’s seen the movie before, Moore was anticipating Act II. “I’m curious to see how it’s all going to be “pulled together.”
Kiewit manager, Paul Fortier, shared Moore’s anticipation. “I’m wondering if Deloris will get kicked out of the convent.” Adding, “This is really good, and funny. Also, the singing is outstanding for a first performance.”
Mercy High School freshman, Madeline Riesberg, agreed. “The music is really good.” Some parts she didn’t understand, probably due to age. Certain words made her feel a tad uncomfortable. However, “This play makes me want to go to others. I’ll definitely talk about this at school tomorrow.”
It’s clear. This production will entertain diverse audiences throughout its run. Will you be lucky enough to secure a ticket to see it?
If so, look for the blue shoes. Marvel at the flawless set changes. Listen for the Johnny Carson reference. Don’t try any of the pick-up lines in public. You want to be able to go back to the Omaha Community Playhouse and see future productions.
Tickets available by calling 402.553.0800 or online at Omaha PlayHouse.
Comment below. Have you seen the play? Share your review.
©Copyright. September 2016. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved.