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We interrupt our normal broadcast to present a rave review about Cabrillo Music Theatre‘s Sister Act the Musical!!!

I am still smiling from ear to ear thinking about the amazing experience I enjoyed last night at the production’s opening night. The cast, led by Daebreon Poiema as Doloris Van Cartier, was spectacular! Not a single weak link… Since most of us have seen the beloved 1992 film starring Maggie Smith and Whoopi I will skip the description and move right on to all the great highlights of the show…

Photo by Ed Krieger.

Where to begin? How about the fabulous set design provided by The Music and Theatre Company? The set was for the most part empty of unnecesary props and backdrops that could be distracting to the action and singers on stage. Instead there were a few token pieces such as a table, desk and dining table and several banner/backdrops that represented everything from a bar to the convent.

Similarly, props must go to the costumes that were provided by Tuachan Center for the Arts, Utah. In particular, Curtis’ henchmen (David Kirk Grant, John Paul Batista & Kenneth Mosley) made the most of their 70s inspired costumes. And their chemistry together was especially highlighted during their 2nd act number, “Lady in the Long Black Dress”, that had the audience roaring with laughter.

Daebreon Poiema & Debbie Prutsman. Photo by Ed Krieger.

Speaking of chemistry, actors Daebreon Poiema and Debbie Prutsman were terrific as Doloris and Mother Superior during their comical interactions. And be assured our leading ladies were radiant and strong of voice. They captivated the audience every time they raised their voices! Specifically, “Raise Your Voice”, “Here Within These Walls” and “Sister Act” had the audience putting their hands together until they were too tired to continue.

Other highlights in the cast were: Chelsea Morgan Stock as Mary Robert, Fracesca Barletta as Sister Patrick, Wilkie Ferguson III as Eddie (Doloris’ love interest), Dedrik Bonner as Curtis, David Gilchrist as Monsignor O’Hara, and Karla J. Franko as Sister Lazarus.

Wilkie Ferguson III, Daebreon Poiema. Photo by Ed Krieger.

Honestly there was no weak link so it is hard to point out highlights without thinking of the cast as a whole. In fact I don’t think the show would have been nearly as infectious and fabulous without the nun ensemble that included local favorites such as Natalia Vivino (“Yonah” in Cabrillo’s Children of Edenand Lakeisha Renee Houston (“Felicia” in Cabrillo’s Memphis).

When Poiema and the nuns were “getting the rafters ringing” during their rousing gospel numbers, the show truly came alive and the audience was cheering them along vocally and with what seemed like non-stop clapping. I was almost sad to be leaving the theater after the exhilarating closing number “Spread The Love Around”.

Daebreon Poiema and Nuns. Photo by Ed Krieger.

Additional praise has to be laid at the feet of Director Misti B. Wills and Choreographer Michelle Elkin. The group gospel numbers, Ferguson’s “I Could Be That Guy”, and the henchmen’s “Lady In the Long Black Dress” were fabulously arranged making full use of the stage and the Thousand Oaks’ Civic Arts Plaza’s acoustics. And the two chase scenes were two of the best scenes thanks to the great choreography and direction by Willis and Elkin.

So what are you waiting for? Sister Act is an A+ production and a great highlight of Cabrillo Music Theatre’s 2016-2017 season! You will surely be searching for the London cast recording so you can keep singing along long after the show.

Yours truly with my friend during intermission.

Disclaimer: I had my ticket comped for review purposes but all opinions are my own.