After the success of last year’s show “The Witches of Eastwick”, for which we were awarded Best Overall Show at Aims, it was going to prove a challenge this year to pick a show that was going to be just as good if not better. But with a little divine inspiration, we managed to pull it off again.
This year the committee chose “Sister Act The Musical”. The show is based on the movie starring Whoppi Goldberg, and tells the story of a lounge singer, Deloris Van Cartier, who witnesses her gangster boyfriend murder someone and is sent into hiding in the last place anyone would look for her, a Convent. The show is written by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner with lyrics by Glenn Slater and music by Alan Menken, and with hits such as “Fabulous Baby” “Sunday Morning Fever” and “Take me to Heaven” this show was one to top all others. With the show completely SOLD OUT the week before , everyone was very eager to see how the society would produce such a well known and much loved story. And they were not disappointed.
Claudia Karuiki, who played leading diva Delores Van Cartier shone so brightly on the Opera House stage that she could have performed without spotlights! The crowds could be heard cheering outside on the street when she appeared for her curtain call in her white sequined dress and white fur coat.
Siobhan Fawsitt, a regular to Wexford stage, was both moving and hilarious as Mother Superior, the mother hen who is trying to keep her sisters safe from Deloris’s new age ways.
George Lawlor returned after his sinfully good performance last year in “Witches of Eastwick” and was incredibly believable as the gangster boss Curtis, and had audiences both terrified and enthralled at his singing and his suave dance moves.
Tony Carty, played the nervous, shy and clumsy police officer, charged with protecting Deloris, but there was nothing shy about his big number “I could be that guy” in which he broke into a Travolta dance complete with outfit and stole the stage with his fantastic voice and feverish dance steps.
Not to forget our wonderful Sisters. Catherine Walsh was an absolute riot as Sister Mary Patrick, the cheery and hopeful nun who had everyone rolling in their seats from her 1st entrance to her last boogie. Sister Mary Lazarus, our hip-hop, rapping and very much holier than thou nun was played by the not so strict Marian O’Leary. Maggs Jacob was just beautiful as the timid and unsure Sister Mary Roberts, who breaks free from her life of rules and obligations, with help from Deloris and stopped the show with her heartfelt regrets which she expressed in “The life I never led”. Not to forget the leader of the bunch, Mr. Des Whelan who returned to Wexford Stage to deliver his most comic role as Monsignor O’Hara, the Irish priest who is trying to move the convent into modern times. Each time he took to the stage the roar of laughter from the crowd was deafening.
Behind the scenes though was a team that made the show what it was and without them it would not have been as successful as it was.
John Donnolly, a genius and perfectionist extraordinaire returned to direct the show this year. It was his vision that gave this show all the reality of a West end performance.
Eithne Corrigan, our Chorus mistress worked tediously with the chorus to have them sounding like a choir of angels, and she achieved nothing less. Our Musical director, Fintan Cleary, brought the whole show together with his musical direction without which the show would not have hit the exalted heights that it did. And where would the Nuns have been without their superb choreographer Nicole McDonald, whose incredible imagination saw nuns shaking their buns, and one of the only Kick line of nuns you will see in the south east.
The show was nominated for 5 Aims awards
Best Comedian – Des Whelan
Best Ensemble - Fabulous Baby Reprise
Best Stage Manager- Colin Murphy
Best Director – John Donnolly
Best Overall Show.
Although we did not take home the cup (this year) , Colin Murphy did win the award for Best stage manager, which was well deserved as it is not easy to manage a flock of 30 nuns.
But the close of Aims means the beginning of another year for Wexford Light Opera. We are pleased to announce that our show for the coming year will be “Chess” and we are hopeful that it will be another year of sold out nights and standing ovations. Hope to see you all there next year.