The Arvada Center is kicking off its 41 season with a production that aims for the heavens — and takes the audience along with it.
Rod A. Lansberry is directing the center’s production of “Sister Act,” based on the 1992 movie featuring Whoopi Goldberg.
“Sister Act” runs at the Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., from Sept. 9 through Oct. 2. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. Wednesday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s simply a divine musical,” said Brit West, who plays Deloris Van Cartier in the show. “It’s about how music transcends all boundaries and brings people together.”
The story features music from Tony and Oscar winner Alan Menken, and focuses on Deloris, a club singer who is looking for her big shot when she witnesses a murder. For her own safety she is assigned a police guard, Eddie Souther (David Kaverman), and delivered into a convent and the hands of the Mother Superior (Megan Van De Hey) for her own safety. Thanks to her nun disguise, she’s able to hide from those who are seeking her, and she starts to make a big impact on the lives of her sisters.
The show’s music is a mix of genres, focusing on soul and R&B, but interweaving traditional church music and gospel.
“Everyone gets a chance to show off, especially since the music changes as the show goes on,” said Kaverman. “There are some great throwbacks to classic church music. Throughout the music is so fun and joyful.”
While based on the movie, Kaverman added that the musical is different in numerous points, which provide some surprises for people familiar with the story.
“Things don’t happen the way you’d expect them,” he said. “Still, audiences are going to feel very satisfied with how things go.”
One of the most interesting parts of the show, according to the actors, is the way it explores the nuances of faith.
“Mother Superior has very definite ideas of God, and Deloris challenges that,” Van De Hey explained. “She thinks God has stopped answering her prayers, and doesn’t realize Deloris is the answer —she just didn’t see it.”
“Sister Act” is really a showcase for singers and dancers, according to West, and audiences can expect to be up and dancing by the show’s end.
“People should come prepared to have a good time,” Van De Hey said. “If you’re not dancing in the aisles, there’s something wrong with you.”
But the real surprise of the show might just be its heart.
“People might be caught off guard by the emotion,” West said. “It’s just a feel-good, family musical.”