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'Sister Act' comes to the SIU stage starting July 7

  • Lyndsay Manson, Shelby Terrell and Alexis Nwokoji are among the cast of 'Sister Act,' which opens next month in Carbondale.

    Lyndsay Manson, Shelby Terrell and Alexis Nwokoji are among the cast of 'Sister Act,' which opens next month in Carbondale.
    Steve Buhman photo

Provided by the SIU Department of Theater
updated: 6/23/2017 7:54 AM

A production of the Broadway musical "Sister Act," based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, is coming to SIU's McLeod Theater stage July 7 to 16 as part of the annual McLeod Summer Playhouse.

The stage adaptation tells the story of a third-rate lounge singer who hides out in a convent after witnessing a gangland killing. Once there, she brings her unique "voice" to the nuns' choir and shapes them into a singing sensation that revitalizes a disappearing congregation.

The original musical score was composed by Alan Menken, who also composed the music for shows including "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid."

J. Thomas Kidd, managing artistic director, is directing the McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) production. Darryl Kent Clark, who teaches musical theater dance at SIU, is supplying the choreography. Kevin A. Smith serves as musical director. Sets are designed by Ron Naversen, with costumes by Kristina Sneshkoff and lighting by Will Coeur. Local celebrity Brandyn McGhee designed the sound.

In the cast, Shelby Terrell is postulant Sister Mary Robert, and Bailey Vincent is novice Sister Mary Patrick. Lindsay Manson, Danae DeShazer and Mikayla Cohen are Sister Mary Lazarus, Sister Mary Martin-of-Tours and Sister Mary Theresa. Chicago-area veteran actress Jane Brewer returns to MSP play the resistant Mother Superior. Raising the roof at the convent is SIU musical theater student Alexis Nwokoji in the starring role of Deloris Van Cartier, the diamond-in-the-rough, on-the-lam lounge singer. Featured also are Asia Ward and Mikayla Cohen as Tina and Michelle, Deloris' pre-convent back-up lounge singers.

On the shady-side of the story is Curtis Jackson, the "I'm-gonna-make-you-a-star" gangster ex-boyfriend, played by Casey Gulledge. His thugs, TJ, Joey and Pablo, are played by Aaron Chancellor Gilmer, Steven Rochet and Malik Van Hoozer-Elliott. Jonathan Steffins plays thug-turned-police-informant murder-victim Ernie.

The hero is investigating police officer Eddie Souther, whose job to protect Deloris turns to love. Eddie Ortega brings his talent to the role.

In a great supporting role, Bart Phillip Williams, on faculty at Southeast Missouri State University, returns to MSP to play the "save-the-convent-fundraising" Monsignor O'Hara. Musical theater students Bryce Beliveau, Jake Ellsworth, Andrew Lampley, Josh Miller, Madison Pruitt, Michael Radford, Michael Sigillito, Jonathan Steffins and Emily Turner also bring their talents to the ensemble of the production.

"Sister Act" performances are July 7 to 9 and July 14 to 16. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays at McLeod Theater, located in the SIU Communications Building. Tickets are $30 for adults, $14 for students and $10 for children and are available online at