One of the real pleasures of working in a producing theater (even in marketing) is the opportunities you have to witness the birth of a work of art.
Today, an assembly of about 200 group and community leaders, media and staff had the good fortune of getting a sneak peek at the Playhouse's upcoming production of Sister Act: The Musical.
Introduced by Playhouse External Communications Director Ken Novice, Artistic Director Sheldon Epps talked about the genesis of this project through a Sushi and Teriyaki laced discussion with director Peter Schneider "but that's probably too much detail", which eventually lead to the creation of an all-star creative team featuring Alan Menken, Glen Slater, Cheri and Bill Steinkeller, Brent Alan-Huffman and Michael Kosarin.
Following Sheldon's chat and a slideshow preview of the various Sister Act sets, Costume designer Garry Lennon continued a slide show of his own and discussing the disco era feel he was trying to acheive with the costumes. And he also left us with a tantalizing tease about the "vital role" to be played by a pair of purple, platform boots (your guess is as good as mine).
But the highlight of the evening was a pair of songs performed by two of Sister Act's performers. Haven't Got a Prayer, performed with wistfulness, resignedness and a touch of world-weary irony by Elizabeth Ward Land (Mother Superior) is a funny lament against all the 70's era secular temptations she has to battle. And while the litany of disco-era pop references may leave some Gen Y'ers scratching their heads, their elders should find themselves smiling in recognition (and sometimes inwardly groaning as well).
Dawnn Lewis (Deloris Van Cartier) performed Fabulous, Baby, a personal pep-talk, glorious in its brashness, but at the same time cognizant of the long odds on actual stardom.
Both songs were rousingly performed to a warm ovation from the crowd, and left all wanting more.
Sister Act: The Musical
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner
Based on the Touchstone Pictures motion picture Sister Act written by Joseph Howard
Directed by Peter Schneider
October 24 - November 26