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Get ready for fun as ‘Sister Act’ hits the JRT stage

By PAM JOHNSON

Special to the H&T

The delightful and energetic musical comedy “Sister Act” is coming to the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre May 12 through June 5.

Based on the popular 1992 film, this show will take you on an unexpected journey with disco diva Deloris Van Cartier as she’s forced to hide from the bad guys in the least likely place: a convent. As an undercover nun, she’s a total outsider and disrupts the rigid lifestyle of the nuns and the rules of the rather uptight Mother Superior. But as time passes, community, redemption, love, and acceptance become heartfelt lessons for everyone at the convent.

“The show challenges the audience to reconsider the perceptions and judgments we make before getting to know a person,” said Angela Grisby, who plays Deloris. “We are not all that different in that we are trying to make the most of our lives. How we do that and what that ‘most’ is can become a place of conflict when really it should be a place of celebrating individuality and how the differences in others can be our most effective teachers.”

Jonathan Schmidt, who portrays Monsignor O’Hara, agreed. “There are so many people who are struggling to find their place in life. So many who feel like an outsider even with friends or places they are familiar with. So many lonely people who long just to be loved. ‘Sister Act’ shows anyone can find that, regardless of their past, and it may sneak up on you in the most unlikely of places.”

Director Liz Dollar believes the show is about the necessity of having a strong community to support one another. “Deloris and the convent,” she stated, “discover they are stronger together, especially when they empower each other to grow their own unique gifts. In the end, they all are saved by the power of their found community.”

“I sincerely hope that people take away the importance of standing alongside your ‘Sister’ or brother in their time of need,” said Bonnie Straub (Mother Superior), “and that they recognize, as Mother Superior does, that ‘all things being even… nothing matters more than love.’”

Though the themes are on the serious side, the mood of the show definitely is not. Disco in a convent? Of course it’s packed full of humor, song, dance and fun.

“This show has a wonderful story to tell, but it’s also just plain fun,” said Schmidt. “There’s glamour, dancing nuns, slapstick chase scenes, and a cast of unforgettable and quirky characters. This show will have you tapping your toes, clapping your hands, and singing through the week to come.”

Dollar added, “People should come see this show because it is full of joy, humor, and hope. It will lift your spirits and make you want to disco!”

“Sister Act” is written by Cheri Steinkellner & Bill Steinkellner, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. The show is directed by Liz Dollar, music directed by Shelly Mangiacotti, choreographed by Rebekah Knisley and stage managed by Mary Wallen. The cast includes Myla Anderson, Willow Dollar, Cierra Fannon, Erin Miller Goines, Ryan Gray, Joe Gumina, Shawn Hale, Joseph Hunter, Caleb Knisley, Susan Lachmann, Hannah Love, Susan McNabb, Lee Mitchell-Harris, Tabby Oliver, Kate Palmer, Megan Quillen, Sharon Squibb, Corey Tickles, Bryttany Todd, and Rebecca Van Wagenen. The production is sponsored by Ignacy Fonberg, Lance Klosterman, Heather Gilreath, Brenda & Bobby Phillips, Park Hill Realty Group, and Sonia King.

Tickets are $17 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010 or go online to jonesboroughtheatre.com. The theatre is located at 125.5 W. Main St., Jonesborough.