A long-awaited holdover from their canceled 2020 season, Spokane Valley Summer Theatre’s production of “Sister Act” opens this weekend at the University High School Theatre.
Based on the 1992 film of the same name, “Sister Act” follows Deloris Van Cartier, a singer with a chance at stardom stuck in the witness protection program. Hiding out in a convent after going to the police with information about her murderous ex-boyfriend, Deloris helps the sisters find their voices. And as she helps them, Deloris learns how to rely on the people she loves.
“It’s a great way to end the season,” executive director Yvonne Johnson said. “It’s a show that we have been highly anticipating and waiting to produce over the last couple of years.”
In fact, she said, nearly 80% of the original 2020 cast has carried over to the 2022 production, including Vanessa Cole as Deloris.
“This is an absolute standout role – (Cole) really shines as Deloris,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Offstage, Cole – a trained American Sign Language interpreter – has also spearheaded SVST’s initiative ensuring that at least one performance of each production will feature ASL interpretation. This production’s ASL performance will be at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 13.
A fan of the film before working on the musical, Cole has enjoyed getting to know the character in a new way.
“At the beginning, Deloris is kind of ready and willing to do whatever she has to achieve her goals,” she said. “But she does a lot of that with the mindset that she doesn’t need other people – that she has to make it happen on her own.”
But over the course of the musical, Deloris realizes that the bonds she develops with her new “sisters” are reliable.
“She’s starting to realize that she doesn’t have to be alone – she doesn’t have to take on the world by herself,” Cole said. “It’s a big role – I still feel like I’m digging deeper into her every single day.”