People love singing nuns. “The Sound of Music” garnered an Oscar for best picture. But there’s another show that features even more singing nuns, with gangsters filling for Nazis as the bad guys.
Beaumont Community Players will present “Sister Act,” Feb. 25 through March 10. Based on the 1993 Whoopi Goldberg hit movie, this “divine musical comedy” features original songs by Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin”).
Cheryl Guidry is making her directorial debut and said the play gives audience a chance to peer into the lives of each character much deeper than the movie.
“We know that the sisterhood is a big thing, but for us it’s been a deeper thing — speaking about accepting and embracing differences and celebrating them, realizing that everybody has a story and a journey,” she said. “You may be headed in one direction thinking that you’re going to find what you want and then you get surprised.”
The story centers around Deloris Van Cartier, a nightclub singer who witnesses a murder. She turns to the police station to escape being captured, where she runs into Eddie, the desk chief, an old school friend. Eddie decides she needs to be hidden and brings Deloris to The Holy Order of the Little Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Faith convent.
The culture clash between the serious and officious Mother Superior and the free-spirited Deloris ensures that audiences are in for a hilarious evening.
Marshey Smith plays Deloris. She said she loves Whoopi Goldberg, and her mother was obsessed with nuns, so trying out for the show was a given. However, she wants to make the part her own and not just copy the movie.
“I’m actually bringing even more adventure, more energy,” she said. “Where Whoopi gave us maybe one side, I wanted to touch all of her sides and the things that I really saw in her — a little bit more of the mischief and corrupting of the nuns.”
Pam Raney-Jackson plays Mother Superior who, she said, is very set in her routines and doesn’t like change.
“Delores just turns her world upside down, which ends up being a good thing, to allow Mother Superior to grow and open up to more ideas and new things,” she said. “She goes through this transformation, through the show, where she’s very unaccepting and makes the judgment call right away about Deloris because of her appearance and ends up changing. They end up having growing friendship by the end.”
The musical is set in 1977 Philadelphia and the music has a disco feel, with songs including “Take Me to Heaven,” “I Could Be That Guy,” “Fabulous Baby,” and the title song.
“It’s great music,” Raney-Jackson said. “And we have an incredible cast. I mean, some fabulous singers, really fabulous singers.”
Andrew Gautreaux plays Eddie who had a school crush on Deloris. He tends to get nervous and sweaty around her which earns him the nickname “Sweaty Eddie.” This is Gautreaux’s debut with BCP. He returned to Southeast Texas three years ago.
“I wanted to get back into the music world and this was a way to do it,” he said. “I love singing, and I love dancing, and all that stuff in the artistic world. I’m from here., but when we moved back, I didn’t exactly know how to get involved in the community and this was a great way to do it.”
Guidry said she thinks audiences will have a lot of fun, but there’s also a good message in the story as well.
“I want them to leave filled with joy and realizing that when we go past our beliefs, we find out the richness in our differences,” she said. “I think there’s so much to be found in the meeting in the middle.”
Raney said the relationship that develops between Mother Superior and Deloris shows the value of acceptance.
“It’s the old ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’-type of thing,” she said. “One of our songs that we end the show with is ‘Spread the Love Around,’ and it’s all about love and opening up to new experiences and people from other backgrounds or cultures.”
One thing is for certain, audiences will enjoy hanging out with the little sisters. You can have faith in that.
Showtimes for “Sister Act” are Feb. 24, 25, March 2, 3, 9, 10, 11 at 7:30 p.m., and March 3 at 2 p.m.
BCP is located at 4155 Laurel Ave. in Beaumont.
For tickets, visit beaumontstages.com.
This story first ran in the Feb. 25, 2023 edition of the Beaumont Enterprise.