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April 10, 2014 - Image 67

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-04-10

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Easier Jazz Celebration

with Alexander Zonjic, his award winning band

and special guests

Jeff Lorber & Chuck Loeb

Sunday April 20, 2014

Cast of Sister Act Tour

Talented Jews make up the creative
team behind Sister Act.


Suzanne Chessler

Contributing Writer


irector Jerry Zaks was afraid
of nuns as a young child after
seeing a large group walking
together in the Catskills. Then again,
he was afraid of the rabbis when he
started Hebrew school.
Neither reaction lasted very long.
Now, many decades later, he has
directed a musical comedy about
nuns, Sister Act, and believes it will be
touching and funny for Jewish audi-
ences. The show runs April 22-May 4
at the Fisher Theatre.
"The story takes two people who
couldn't be more different from each
other and puts them through a won-
derful journey," Zaks says in a phone
conversation from New York. "At the
end, they find out that they have much
more in common as human beings
than they don't have in common.
"I'm a proud Jew who loves telling
a good story, and I love telling a good
story on stage. Whether they're nuns or
any other group, as long as they're hon-
esty portrayed, I feel totally at home
The plot involves disco diva Deloris
Van Cartier after she witnesses a
murder. Put into protective custody
disguised as a nun, she finds herself
at odds with the rigid convent lifestyle
and Mother Superior. As she inspires
the choir, she is discovered but is
assisted by the sisterhood.
"I love the [Whoopi
Goldberg] movie ver-
sion, but we had to do
something different
to translate the story
to stage," says Zaks,
the son of Holocaust
Jerry Zaks
"We wanted to
make the Mother
Superior learn as much about herself as
Deloris learned about herself, and we
had to figure out a way for our nuns to
sing and dance without looking ridicu-
lous and without being disrespectful.
"In the movie, all the music was
existing tracks of songs of the day. In

the play, we've got an original score by
composer Alan Menken and lyricist
Glenn Slater; says Zaks. The duo was
nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for
Best Score of a Musical.
"This is a show
about Roman
Catholic nuns in
which two of the
book writers (Cheri
and her husband Bill
Steinkellner) — and
the composer, and
Glenn Slater
the lyricist, and the
director — were all
Jewish," Slater told Playbill.com in an
interview when the musical opened.
"So we bring a slightly skewed point of
"I did a lot of research and went to
several church services and took a lot of
notes," he added. "I studied up on my
saints and tried to get as much of the
language into my system as I could."
"Members of the audience who have
seen the movie but not the play are
often surprised because of all the new
music; adds Zaks. "Inevitably, they get
involved with the characters because
the show has a life of its own and takes
off with them:'
Zaks, who has directed more than
30 New York productions and has
received four Tony Awards, considers
Sister Act in line with his stage credits,
including Guys and Dolls, A Bronx Tale
and The Addams Family, the last two
most recently toured to Michigan.
"My favorite shows bring joy to audi-
ences and weave a spell that allows
them to forget everything else for two
hours:' Zaks says. "I like to think that
Sister Act does that with a story that's
pretty universal and will affect every-
one regardless of religious beliefs:'


Jeff Lorber


the Fisher Theatre. Curtain times
are 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays,
2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays and
7:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets
start at $40. (313) 872-1000;
broadwayindetroit.com .


Trenton Village Theatre

2447 W.

Jefferson Trenton, MI 48183


Go to www.clypac.com for tickets or more info call 313-964-5050

Try Our New Boneyard
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Sister Act runs April 22-May 4 at

Chuck Loeb

Alexander Zonjic

Italian Cuisine


Buy on- lunch or dinner entree I
and get the second 1/2 off

Of equal or lesser value

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total food bill

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of Grand River & Haggerty Road
Auburn Hills • 1 1/2 miles south of the Palace of Auburn Hills

Farmington Hills • Corner

April 10 • 2014



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