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Lancaster Students channel their ‘Altar Egos’ in ‘Sister Act’

Lancaster High School students will bring the heat of the ’70s back in full swing with their production of "Sister Act."

Based on the hit 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the stage production lets audiences take a look into the disco scene, where Deloris Van Cartier, played by junior Dasia Cervi, is whisked away from her dream of being the next hot item when her gangster boyfriend attempts to kill her.

Forced to hide away in "the last place anyone would look"– the Queen of Angels convent – Deloris whips out her secret weapon: her musical talent, and she teaches the plain nuns how to work it on stage.

With an excellent score written by Alan Menken, known for Disney classics such as "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and The Beast," and a hilarious script written by duo Chris and Bill Steinkeller, it’s no doubt this musical will be a hit for audiences of all ages.

Dasia, in what she calls "her first big role," will take the stage as Deloris Van Cartier. When asked how she feels about playing such a powerful and prominent role, Cervi answered, "It feels great. It’s definitely given me more confidence in the theatrical world, and has shown me that I underestimated my acting abilities. I love knowing that my role as Deloris is going to empower the little girls in the audience. Plus it feels great that people are going to think I’m funny. I really want that."

Playing the fun-loving, disco-riffing Deloris was a surprisingly far stretch for Dasia, and she explained how she gets in character.

"When my friends – people in the ensemble of the show – are watching me. My family, too. I really want to thank my little brother, Darius, for reading lines with me, and I send love to all my homies in the show."

It is no surprise that Dasia will be having the time of her life on stage.

Jaclyn Garmone, a senior who plays the role opposite to Deloris, Mother Superior, commented on how this role, different from others she’s played in the past, has helped her through a time of transition and decision in her life.

"She (Mother Superior) has a different attitude, but slowly progresses as the show does. She reminds me that even those with the worst attitudes can change for the better, and I really do like that," she said.

This musical is definitely different from the Disney cookie-cutter style that so many high schools are used to. That’s why Director of Choirs and Performing Arts of Lancaster, Gary M. Lee, loves it.

"The costuming style is great, the story line is great, but it’s really something we discovered as we went."

Lee also touched on some controversial aspects of the story.

"I grew up in this era, the ’70s, and it was very controversial to have a mixed couple, and that’s what we have here. We had no guarantee we would have who we needed, either. It’s a very specific casting call, and we really just gave it a shot, not relying on the fact that [Dasia would] audition."

Gary laughed and noted, "One thing I must say isn’t ideal is the amount of male singing, but it is very nice to see all the talented women have this special opportunity."

"Sister Act" will debut at Lancaster High School, 1 Forton Drive, Lancaster, today and run through Saturday. Tickets for evening (7:30 p.m.) performances are $12, and tickets for Saturday’s 1 p.m. matinee are $10.

For more information, please contact the Lancaster High School Box Office at 686-3255, extension 9342.

Jillian Johnston is a sophomore at Lancaster High School.


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