Musical comedy ‘Sister Act’ up next at Wright State

A blessing in disguise takes on a whole new meaning in “Sister Act,” the contemporary musical comedy that received five Tony Award nominations in 2011 including Best Musical. The show will have its area collegiate premiere Nov. 4-20 at Wright State University.

Featuring tuneful music by Academy, Grammy and Tony-winning composer Alan Menken (”Beauty and the Beast,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Newsies”) and based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg film of the same name, “Sister Act” tells a 1970s story of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco diva on the run after witnessing a mob killing. Placed into protective custody inside a local convent, Deloris, a humorous catalyst for culture clash, ultimately discovers the joy of friendship while learning important lessons in humility and tolerance.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“The sisters in the convent learn something and so does Deloris,” said director/choreographer Greg Hellems. “They discover what sisterhood is. Deloris realizes that she’s allowed other people to tell her what makes her special. She’s been used by them, but not valued by them. When she goes to the convent, she finds a community of women that actually value her for what she can do - her sense of value as a woman with an innate understanding of music.”

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In addition to student Victoria Henwood as co-choreographer, the artistic team includes music director F. Wade Russo, scenic designer Pam Knauert Lavarnway, costumer Zoe Still, lighting designer Matthew Benjamin, sound designer James Dunlap, and properties master John Lavarnway.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

The production also marks the final show at Wright State for Pam Knauert Lavarnway, who is retiring after more than 70 productions over the last 31 years.

“Pam has been a wonderful colleague and an exciting designer,” said Joe Deer, WSU artistic director and former department chair. “She’s been both a terrific teacher and designer, and someone who has given a great deal to our students and the university. She was the last chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures before we merged with the School of Fine and Performing Arts and helped see us through a reopening from the COVID isolation back into full production. We will miss her enormously. But we hope she’ll be back as a guest designer soon.”

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Tickets are priced at $15 for students, $23 for seniors and $25 for adults. Single tickets go on sale Monday, Oct. 24. For more information, call Wright State’s Box Office at 937-775-2500 or visit www.wright.edu/theatre.

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