FestivalSouth opens its 10th anniversary season Thursday (today) with Broadway’s singing, dancing, feel-good musical Sister Act.
Presented by Forrest Country in partnership with Bryan Nelson, with support from Clyde Bryant of State Farm and Forrest General’s Spirit of Women, it is based on the 1992 film featuring original music by Tony – and eight-time Oscar winner, Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors).
This uplifting musical was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
Produced by The Hub City Players, Hattiesburg’s professional theatre company, Sister Act is filled with powerful gospel music, outrageous dancing and a truly moving story.
The production opens June 6 and runs through the opening night of FestivalSouth, June 8, in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus.
“We wanted to do something really spectacular and at the same time special for the community,” said Dr. Mike Lopinto, artistic director of FestivalSouth. “The super-talented, diverse cast features many ‘local notables’ who are veterans of the stage and some special guest appearances that will have audiences roaring.”
The musical follows the movie plot, however, the action is moved to the 1970’s.
When disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier, witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won't be a found – a convent.
Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior.
Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but, in doing so, blows her cover.
Soon, the gang is giving chase, only to find them up against Deloris and the power of her newly-found sisterhood. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Sister Act is reason to rejoice.
The cast is helmed by the incredible songstress Latisha Hamilton in the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier and one of Hattiesburg’s theatrical gems, Brenda Shows as Mother Superior.
Newcomer Mely Berdion and veterans Patricia Garner and Lucy Sanguinetti have star turns in the production that also includes, Walter Williford, David Walker, Jacobi Daughrity, Allen Hollifield, Wesley Hodges, Cymon Davis, Sierra Davis, Blair Dudas, Alice Johns, Sierra Byrd Davis, Krista McKenzie, Erin Granberry, Jennie Bounds, Lauren Roosa-Wise, Sara Hale, O'Neil Jones, Jeanna Runnels, Ella Seymour, Analynn Sober, Darius Rogers, and Calvin Pierce.
“I am so excited for the opportunity to be back on stage again,” said Shows. “The first time I performed in a musical was when I was 16 years old, as Maria in my high school’s production of the Sound of Music.”
“Much later, I was in a musical theater production of Nunsense II in 1996 which was the last time I performed in a full scale musical. Now, 22 years later, I’m putting on a nun’s habit again, but I’ve graduated from a novice to Mother Superior during all the years that have passed.”