St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School
Alexandria City High School took audience members to heaven on Friday night with their hilarious and lively performance of Sister Act!
Based on the hit 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act found its way to the stage in 2006 with a book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and music by the legendary Alan Menken. After premiering in Pasadena, California, the musical comedy transferred to the West End, before finally making it to the Broadway stage in 2011, where it played a total of 28 previews and 561 performances. The story follows Deloris Van Cartier, a bold club singer who must become inconspicuous and hide away in a convent to avoid her potential murder. When Deloris arrives at the Queen of Angels Cathedral, her musical talents come in handy as she begins to lead the church choir to success and, to the surprise of many, find her own family of sisters along the way.
Deloris' shoes, or bedazzled boots rather, are surely difficult to fill, but Lilac Haynesworth "raised her voice'' up to this challenge and attacked each and every scene and song with force. Haynesworth led the show with grace and power, wonderfully and seamlessly portraying Deloris' demanding character arc, as she developed from a spotlight-seeking diva to a true leader, who decides that being a part of her "sister act" is enough. Haynesworth's lively and compelling performance was supported by her crystal-clear vocals; her rich belt truly soared through the auditorium and made every audience member want to partake in the choir. Speaking of vocals, Mariel Carr as Sister Mary Robert enchanted the audience with her gorgeously soothing tone and incredibly resonant voice. Carr's clarity as she maneuvered through difficult songs, such as her show-stopping ballad, "The Life I Never Led," was truly magnificent, and her illuminating high notes were especially pleasing to the ear in the harmonies of the nun ensemble. Together, Haynesworth's bold persona and Carr's reserved demeanor fostered a beautiful dynamic that was delightful to watch.
Another highlight of the show was Naeem Scott as Eddie Souther, the misunderstood cop whose caring nature and secret crush on Deloris motivate him to protect her at all costs. Scott gave a charming and charismatic portrayal of "Sweaty Eddie," which was accompanied by an astronomical vocal performance. Scott's clearly classical training was showcased wonderfully, as he flawlessly transitioned between delicate and rich low notes, to unbelievably powerful high notes, all with a consistently strong vibrato. Scott's solo, "I Could Be That Guy," was wickedly impressive, not only because of his astonishing singing, but also his superb dancing skills and stamina, as he navigated through three onstage quick changes.
In a rare but wonderful occurrence, this dazzling show was student directed under the leadership of Abigail Gerstein. Gerstein's construction of the show was perfectly on par with most adult directors, and every one of her choices were smart and efficient. Gerstein created lovely visual dynamics that kept the audience engaged in each scene, and her use of the wings and aisles were extremely effective in pulling attention away from the set changes taking place at center stage. Speaking of set changes, the ACHS Stage Crew nailed each scene change from start to finish. The transitions were smooth and polished, and they heavily contributed to the overall phenomenal quality of the show.
From glistening vocals to bold and dynamic acting performances, to seamless and efficient technical elements, this production was truly a joy to watch. So, "spread the love around" and go see Alexandria City High School's "fabulous" production of Sister Act!
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
Hallelujah! Alexandria City High School's Sister Act is guaranteed to give you Sunday morning fever and raise your voice. This priceless, comedic production features a cast with talented vocals, engaging sets, and energetic choreography.
Sister Act, originally a film from 1992, was an incredible hit at the box office and has spawned multiple sequels. In 2006, a musical adaptation was born with music by musical theatre legend Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and a book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, and Douglas Carter Beane. Sister Act tells the story of singer Deloris, who must be relocated for protection after seeing her gangster boyfriend murder one of his goons. To Deloris' disappointment, she must take the name Sister Mary Clarence and live as a nun. When she is put in charge of the nunnery's choir by the disapproving Mother Superior, Deloris' whole life begins to change.
Lilac Haynesworth, who played Deloris, was an exceptional performer and triple threat. Haynesworth's vocals were outstanding and strong, and the actor's comedic timing brought so much to the character and brought the energy in every scene. Angelina Martinez, who played Mother Superior, was an excellent "straight man." Martinez carried powerful songs and had some of the most hilarious one-liners in the show.
Mariel Carr, who played the timid Sister Mary Robert, had outstanding dedication to her character and shined in her song, "The Life I Never Led," with crystal-clear vocals and impressive belting. Naeem Scott as the policeman Eddie Souther gives vocal and dance firepower in his sensational song "I Could Be That Guy." The gangsters, Lucas Trueblood, August Taylor, Kai Avila, and Silas Adkins-Hooke as Curtis, TJ, Pablo, and Joey respectively had the audience roaring with laughter with their slapstick comedy.
This show's tech goes above and beyond what is required of a high school production. The sound, controlled by Ilona Boehm-O'Connor, Matias Chase, Owen Maccubbin, and Elijah Solomon, is particularly talented when it comes to working with the actors' mics. Every actor could be heard, and every song reverberated across the theatre, filling it with music. The ACHS Stage Crew gave outstanding smoothness and cohesiveness to the production and made the scene transitions flawless.
Alexandria City High School's Sister Act is uproarious fun that leaves the audience wanting to see more.