My faithful readers,
Did you miss me? So much has happened since the last time I published a column on here! We’ve had the Halloween season, civil unrest in the Middle East, a devastating hurricane, and a Presidential election. But much of the groundbreaking news occurred outside of Chicago, and I had to take a leave of absence to be involved in other activities for a week or two. Now I’m back, and it’s time to focus on what I do best – writing about Catholic issues in Chicago.
I could give you my own take on what happened during those recent events, but what can be written that hasn’t been written before? There’s been so much bad news and depressing headlines around us, perhaps it’s time for some calm before the next storm. We have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve to look forward to, before we brace ourselves for 2013 (and that’s assuming the world doesn’t come to an end in December as the Mayans predicted) And in just a few days, Chicago residents can look forward to a divide comedy coming our way: the acclaimed musical “Sister Act” will make its debut in Chicago on November 13th.
As you may have guessed, “Sister Act” is based on the surprise hit film of the same name from 1992. While the movie itself wasn’t really a musical (but rather a straight forward comedy film with three musical performances in it), the stage play adaptation is a full blown musical with constant scenes of the characters bursting into song. It follows roughly the same plot as the movie: we follow the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a nightclub diva who witnesses a crime and is placed in a witness protection program where she must don a nun’s habit and seek protection under the guidance of Catholic nuns in a convent. While she stays there to escape a gang trying to retaliate against her, she eventually grows to accept life among the nuns and finds a meaningful place as the choir director, where she makes new friendships and creates groundbreaking celebratory music. Her rockin’ musical style causes her to butt heads with the convent’s Mother Superior, who dislikes her unorthodox tactics. And so the story goes…
Theatrical productions about Catholic nuns have always been popular with audiences, whether its musical plays or comedies like “The Sound of Music,” “Nunsense”, or Chicago’s own popular hit, “Late Nite Catechism”. But many serious productions have used stories about nuns as well, whether it’s “Doubt”, “Lillies of the Field”, “Agnes of God”, or Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure.” Some viewers are skeptical about using Catholic nuns as source material for entertainment, but perhaps these productions remind us a bit about why the traditional role of a nun is so important to Catholicism – and why the image of a nun in a full-habit with a rosary and a crucifix is so much more striking and dramatic than a nun dressed in plain clothes. Perhaps we need to see more of “traditional nuns”, even if it’s in fictional stories and light-hearted comedies.
The original “Sister Act” film starred Whoopi Goldberg (with the casting choice done deliberately to make the character as the least nun-like person you could imagine), and Goldberg briefly returned to the cast of “Sister Act” when the musical made its Broadway debut, although she did not reprise the role of Deloris. For the Chicago version of “Sister Act”, the show will star a veteran local actress, Hollis Resnik, as Mother Superior. (Resnik just received a Jeff Award for her role in the Chicago Shakespeare Theater production of “Follies”) Resnik has worked with nearly every major Chicago theater company, and has also has been part of the national tours of “Les Miserables” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” The main character, Deloris Van Cartier, will be portrayed by Ta’Rea Campbell (Campbell’s Broadway credits include “The Lion King” and “The Book of Mormon”). “Sister Act” will arrive at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theatre, running from November 13th thru December 2nd.
Here’s some basic information about the upcoming show:
“Sister Act: The Musical”
Theater: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
Location: 50 East Congress Parkway Chicago, Illinois 60605
Dates: November 13, 2012 – December 2, 2012
Running time: 2 hours, 55 minutes, with 1 intermission.
Ticket Prices: $28-$103
For more information: call (800) 775-2000 (Groups of 15+ are also on sale now by calling (312) 977-1710.)
So, whether you’re a Catholic or not, you might consider checking out “Sister Act” in the coming weeks to take your mind off the woes of everyday life and all the problems in the world. Some have criticized “Sister Act” for making light of the Catholic Church. To them, I say, lighten up. We have a lot more to worry about in this world than singing nuns.