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From Convent to Comedy, Sister Act Delivers Laughs and Love

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Nuns Just Wanna Have Fun: Slow Burn Theatre’s Sister Act Brings a Divine Groove to Fort Lauderdale.

February 8th, 2024

Derived from the iconic 1992 film, the musical adaptation of Sister Act unfolds the tale of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier, thrust into protective custody within the most unlikely sanctuary – a convent. Initially seeming like an unholy pact, Deloris forms unexpected bonds with the sisters, injecting vitality into their world. The narrative beautifully encapsulates the journey towards one’s dreams, embracing the possibility of a new direction, and cautioning against the limitations of superficial judgments.

The production boasts original compositions by Tony® and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken, coupled with lyrics by Glenn Slater, delivering a spectacular experience reminiscent of its cinematic predecessor. Set against the backdrop of Motown, soul, and disco, the musical showcases powerful vocal performances, notably by Mandi Jo John (Deloris Van Cartier) in her company debut. Her exceptional portrayal transcends vocal prowess, incorporating a captivating blend of sass and charisma that brings her character to life.

Maddi Jo John – Credit Kristia Knowles

While Mandi Jo John’s performance is undoubtedly a highlight, the feel-good ambiance permeates the entire narrative from start to finish. Described in the press release as “second to nun,” the ensemble lives up to its celestial billing. The production excels in every aspect, from dynamic choreography to vibrant costumes, heartfelt lyrics, and abundant humor, particularly in the dry wit of Paulette Olivia as Mother Superior. Special recognition is due to Ellie Patterson (Mary Poppins, The Music Man, Funny Girl) and Natasha Ricketts (a Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manor Cabbaret singer) for their delightful portrayals of Sister Mary Lazarus and Sister Mary Patrick, respectively, adding layers of humor and depth to their characters. Rickett’s transformative portrayal of Sister Mary Patrick as she grows from a mild-mannered, soft-spoken nun to one with fierceness and a monstrous voice is something to behold.

Director Patrick Fitzwater and the creative team, featuring Music Director Wilkie Ferguson, Choreographer Trent Soyster, Scenic Designer Sean McClelland, Lighting Designer Clifford Spulock, Production Stage Manager Matthew Luppino, and Assistant Stage Manager Vickie Anderson, deserve commendation for their seamless execution. The production maintains its rhythm even in its reimagined form, incorporating modernized humor and whimsical dance scenes. The 70’s-inspired costume designs by Costume World Theatrical, coordinated by Rick Peña, are a delightful addition.

Adapted from the Touchstone Pictures motion picture, Sister Act was crafted by Joseph Howard and based on the book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner, with additional material by Douglas Carter Beane. Slow Burn Theatre Company’s rendition of “Sister Act” at the Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, continues its run until Sunday, February 18.

For ticket inquiries, visit BrowardCenter.org, or Ticketmaster.com, call 954.462.0222, or visit the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office in person at 201 SW Fifth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Stay connected with updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @BrowardCenter, and subscribe to the YouTube channel at YouTube.com/user/BrowardCenter. Join the conversation with #BrowardCenter.

Coach is South Florida Insider's Owner, President, Webmaster, as well as a Reporter and Photographer covering events all over the world. Born in West Palm Beach, Coach continues to call the sunny Florida area home. He received his Associate degree from the University of South Florida, then transferred to the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism & Communications. During his journalistic career, which has been featured in local newspapers and magazines as well as national publications, Coach has also continued his love of being an educator. It’s through both endeavors that he’s actively got students interested in following in the field of journalism. Coach loves sharing the world of entertainment with others and giving people the opportunity to step out of the everyday life.

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