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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette “Sister Act: The Musical” opens Friday from the University of Saint Francis.  

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Fatima Washington plays Deloris in "Sister Act: The Musical," which opens Friday from the University of Saint Francis.  

  • Fatima Washington, left, is among cast members for “Sister Act: The Musical,” which opens Friday. from the University of Saint Francis.  

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Fatima Washington, left center, and Sydney Shuherk perform with other cast members in "Sister Act: The Musical," which opens Friday from the University of Saint Francis.

  • Sydney Shuherk plays Sister Mary Robert.  

Friday, November 03, 2017 1:00 am

Saint Francis stages 'Sister Act: The Musical'

If you go

What: “Sister Act: The Musical”

When: 8 p.m. today, Saturday and Nov. 10 and 11; 2 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 12

Where: Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, 431 W. Berry St.

Admission: $17 adults, $15 seniors 65 and older or children younger than 12; group rates available; 422-4226 or tickets.artstix.org

Spotlight

Sydney Shuherk, junior

Q. Let's say you need to hide out. Where do you take shelter and what is your secret identity?

A. I am actually a history major at Saint Francis and hope to work in a museum some day. So if I had to hide out, I would definitely flee to Europe and hide myself in a dusty forgotten library with books from the Middle Ages.

As for a name? I'm going to have to go with Louisa Lumineer.

A singer named Deloris witnesses a murder and is forced to hide among a group of nuns as Sister Mary Clarence.

Sound familiar? Good – now forget the rest of what you remember about “Sister Act” the movie. The University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts opens “Sister Act: The Musical” tonight, and it's a different experience in many ways.

Though the stage production uses the plot of the 1992 film, it is set in the 1970s with original music appropriate for that time period by Alan Menken.

But the message of “Sister Act” remains, says director Brad Beauchamp.

“It just comes down to: If people will just talk and listen to one another, they'll really come to the conclusion that they're all the same,” he says.

As Deloris lets go of her preconceptions about nuns and learns something about herself, the sisters accept her and learn some things about themselves in the process. Though these women have lived very different lives, they find common ground.

The cast of 38 students and actors from the community includes Fatima Washington as Deloris and Sydney Shuherk as Sister Mary Robert. University president Sister Elise Kriss has a cameo.

The production also includes a student orchestra, which Beauchamp says makes the show that much richer.

“Instead of having synthesized strings, we actually have kids playing the strings or ... whatever we need,” he says.

The musical is full of laughs, and Beauchamp says preparing for the show has been a lot of fun for the group – especially after they get to break out the shimmer curtains and sparkling habits.

“Once the end of Act I comes on and Sister Mary Clarence really gets the sisters groovin' to the music, it's like one giant show choir rock concert,” he says.

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette