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A new 'Sister Act'

Musical adaptations of popular films usually go one of two ways.

Like “Ghost,” “Dirty Dancing” or any of the myriad other stories whose silver-screen luster didn’t survive the translation from two to three dimensions, they can be pale impressions of their source material. Or, like “Shrek” and “Once,” they can use the screenplay as a rough jumping-off point rather than a holy decree and create something new and completely native to the stage.

“Sister Act,” the high-octane musical adapted from the 1992 movie that made Whoopi Goldberg a household name, belongs to the second category. It is so unhinged, so frenetic and so polyglot in its style and diverse in its inspirations that it bears almost no resemblance to the original. A touring version of the show, which came to Shea’s Performing Arts Center in 2013, will have one performance at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts in Amherst.

The show is fueled by music from prolific composer Alan Menken (“Little Shop of Horrors,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid”) and clever lyrics by Glenn Slater. Its book writer, Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane, is no schlub either.

Tickets are $47 to $67 general and $27 for students. Call 645-2787 or visit ubcfa.org.

– Colin Dabkowski

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