It’s the season of high school musicals. And North Springs Charter High School’s talented students recently delivered a wonderful performance of the musical comedy, “Sister Act,” by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, based on the 1992 film.
The show opens in a night club in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve. Singer Deloris Van Cartier and her back-up singers, Tina and Michelle (think The Supremes) are performing for the club owner/gangster, Curtis. Deloris is Curtis’ girlfriend, and he’s promised to introduce her to a record producer, but once again fails to come through. In frustration, she decides to leave Curtis and strike out on her own. But, as she’s leaving the club she witnesses Curtis kill a man he believes has squealed to the police. To keep from being killed by Curtis herself, the police desk chief, Eddie, puts Deloris into the witness protection program and takes her to a nearby convent to live.
Senior Miko Harper was wonderful as the feisty Deloris, belting out the tunes right and left and displaying every ounce of energy and attitude required for the role. A strong vocalist, Harper seemed to effortlessly perform all of her numbers, but her sensitive singing of “Sister Act” was very moving. Jazmyn Vialet and Victoria McQueen are her equally energetic and talented back-up singers, Tina and Michelle, respectively. Give these three a record deal, already! And a variety show so we can enjoy their dance moves.
Freshman William Gordon gave a strong performance as the bad guy, Curtis. He has a commanding stage presence and sang beautifully on his song, “When I Find My Baby.” Policeman Eddie was portrayed by the talented senior Jonathan Bynoe who sensitively and beautifully sang “I Could Be That Guy.”
Geneveive Cortez was the frustrated Mother Superior, torn between helping someone in need who was beyond her ability to control. Cortez did a good job of showing that tension, especially in her solo in the second act, “I Haven’t Got a Prayer.” And Ben Cohen was the ever-positive Monsignor O’Hara, encouraging (and frustrating) the Mother Superior right and left.
Some of the funniest moments are provided by the supporting cast members. Curtis’ goons are played by Joshua Baker (Joey), Jared Solovei (TJ), and Mason Cotton (Pablo). These three were terrific comic actors who were also excellent singers and dancers. And the nuns provided a different type of humor, in their contrast to Deloris (renamed Sister Mary Clarence in their midst). Kiera Smith was perky Sister Mary Patrick, while Aliza Walker was the older, sterner Sister Mary Lazarus.
The oldest nuns in the convent (think walking canes and daffy dialogue) were Rachael Simpson as Sister Mary Theresa and Jordan Thompson as Sister Mary Martin-of-Tours. Junior Sara Dardik delivered a fine performance of young novice Sister Mary Robert, who slowly comes out of her shell, delivering a powerful solo in the second ace with “The Life I Never Led.”
To produce this show, you need a strong cast of nuns who can not only belt out the tunes, but show some dance moves we don’t usually associate with the cloistered life. Rising to the challenge were the Nuns: Elaine Berger, Semaja Brim, Ilan Davis, Giani Gates, Alexis Hitchmon, Amaya Jones, Alma Kent, Lindsey Mattei, Isabelle Mokotoff, Ashley Stadler, Addison Thornton, Victoria McQueen, and Jazmyn Vialet. Rounding out the cast are murder victim Ernie, play by Erik Cody, the cop, played by Taylor McKinney, and the hooker, played by Kyerra Kelley.
Serving as Director/Technical Director for “Sister Act” was Joel King with Maddison Cotton serving as Assistant Director. Additional assistance was provided by Aliza Walker (Student Technical Director), Jake Bardack (Stage Manager), Binta Diallo, Joia Fanning, Aji John, and Carolina Lansing (Assistant Stage Managers), Denise Kent and James Landreau (Choreographers) and Jordan Thompson (Assistant Choreographer).
Crew Members included Sara Dardik and NyAsia Kelley (Costume Design), Kyera Kelley (Assistant Costume Design), Zussy Okoyomon (Hair/Make-up Design), Zach Maycumber (Lighting Design), Jalexis James (Assistant Lighting Design), Ashley Green (Props Design), Abigail Kemp (Assistant Props Design), Ben Engelman (Set Design), Ben Cohen (Assistant Set Design), Scott Fineberg (Master Carpenter), Stephanie Bullock (Sound Design), Ben Miller (Deck Chief), and Joia Fanning (Assistant Deck Chief). Members of the Run Crew included Binta Diallo, Ariana Gilmore, Mason Hawkins, Aji John, Carolina Lansing, Zaria Spears, and Aliyah Viera.
Musicians were led by Michael Brown (Conductor), Van Craven (Musical Director), Ilan Davis (Assistant Musical Director), and Grace Motahari (Pit Orchestra Manager). Orchestra members included Terrill Burke (acoustic bass), Hazel Durbin (bass), Mariah Andrews and Conor Neuser (clarinets), Mekhi Gladden (clarinet and oboe), Xavier Jones (drums), Brooke Smith and Teanna Throw (flutes), Benjamin Sinatra (guitar), Allison Sinatra and Rachael Stowell (percussion), Mariah Andrews, Gabriel Davis, and Tyler Lovelace (tenor sax), Devin Nash and Nicholas Sinatra (trombones), and Joe Holbrook, Noah Maxwell, Emily Sinatra and John Smith (trumpets).