Sister Act

While it's true that few trends define contemporary Broadway like the proliferation of adaptations of popular movies, cynical charges of unoriginality tend to discount the overall quality of such productions. Taken as a starting point, not a rote scene-by-scene reiteration, screen to stage transformations can prove inspired. In exceptional instances, like that of the currently touring production of Sister Act, the stage version has been known to even improve upon the source material. Based on the Whoopi Goldberg-starring 1992 film, the story follows an admittedly predictable pattern: a murder witness (in this case, a nightclub performer) is placed under protective custody in a comically unlikely spot (here, a convent), only to find that her irrepressible passion is exactly what the stodgy institution needs to rediscover its groove. But while the narrative follows a familiar formula, the material is energetically elevated, thanks to nonstop vocal dynamics and a rousing musical arrangement that unites Gospel choruses with R&B, soul, and funk. Such musical dexterity can be largely credited to acclaimed composer Alan Menken, an eight-time Oscar winner with an unerring ear for crafting exhilarating atmospherics, whether through a softly delivered ballad or via show-stopping anthems. With a company of nuns swirling in unison, choreographed by Anthon Van Laast, Sister Act looks to achieve a kind of Broadway miracle, transcending its previous incarnation via impassioned talent and singular spectacle. $49-$109. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-339-7007, www.hennepintheatretrust.org. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., May 30, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 31, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., June 1, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: May 27. Continues through May 29, 2014

 
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