AOS Sister Act programme Autumn 2017


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Show programme for AOS production of Sister Act.

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Abingdon Operatic Society’s A Divine Musical Comedy “And remember! God loves us when we sing… …even like that!” Tue 24 - Sat 28 October 2017 7:30pm Special matinee performance Sat 28 October at 2:30pm Amey Theatre Abingdon School, OX14 1DE Special production sponsorship by Bringing live musical theatre to Abingdon!


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Abingdon Operatic Society’s Sister Act Music by ALAN MENKEN Lyrics by GLENN SLATER Book by CHERI & BILL STEINKELLNER Additional Book Material DOUGLAS CARTER BEANE Based on the Touchstone Pictures Motion Picture “Sister Act” written by Joseph Howard This amateur production is presented by arrangement with JOSEF WEINBERGER LTD on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of NEW YORK Orchestrations by Doug Besterman Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Michael Kosarin Produced on Broadway by Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment in association with The Shubert Organization and Disney Theatrical Productions Originally Production Developed in Association with Peter Schneider & Michael Reno and Produced by Stage Entertainment Directed for AOS by Joy Skeels Musical Direction by Mark Denton Choreography by Jess Townsend THERE WILL BE AN INTERVAL OF TWENTY MINUTES BETWEEN THE ACTS PLEASE ENSURE THAT ALL MOBILE PHONES ARE SWITCHED OFF The use of all cameras, video and audio equipment is prohibited PLEASE NOTE THAT SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE ON ABINGDON SCHOOL PREMISES, INCLUDING ALL OUTSIDE AREAS Refreshments are available in the foyer conservatory


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Chairman’s welcome ~ Joy Skeels Welcome to this performance of Abingdon Operatic Society’s Sister Act. Back in 1958, the fledgling Abingdon Amateur Operatic Society decided to put on a show. Originally formed by scientists from the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, they had been meeting for some eighteen months, singing snippets from Gilbert & Sullivan and enjoying making new friends. I imagine that it was a tremendous undertaking, staging Iolanthe at the old Corn Exchange in Abingdon. They must have wondered (and worried) whether it would succeed or fail. What would they have thought if they’d known that sixty years later Abingdon Operatic Society would still be going strong? On the cusp of that sixtieth year, we’re very proud to be giving Sister Act its debut performance in Abingdon. It’s a very funny show and we’ve had a Joy wearing her Chairman’s face great time in rehearsal, laughing at the principals as they work out the best way to deliver their lines. We do hope you enjoy the show as much as we have enjoyed creating it. I’d like to welcome back Mark Denton as Musical Director. Mark has been with us (literally) man and boy, and I know how much the Society appreciates the way he guides us through the high notes and low notes of the score. I’d also like to give a very warm welcome to Jess Townsend, who’s making her debut with AOS as Choreographer. Jess has an amazing amount of experience for one so young and we’ve all so enjoyed working with her. We’re hoping that she’s enjoyed it too and that we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. On a sadder note, during rehearsals for Sister Act we heard that we’d lost a well-loved member of AOS to cancer. Phil Hughes was a big man with a huge heart, always smiling and full of quips and anecdotes. We’ll all miss him so much and perhaps we’ll imagine we can still hear his laughter echoing around backstage. And now, on with the show! We hope that Sister Act delights you and we hope to see you all again for our next production, Singin’ in the Rain, in the Spring of 2018 – our sixtieth anniversary year! 3


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Director ~ Joy Skeels This will be my fourth time directing a show for AOS, after Crazy for You in 2012, Sweet Charity in 2014, and Barnum in 2016. I’m hoping that I’m gradually beginning to get into my stride – it certainly throws up different challenges to being onstage. Having spent over thirty years playing a wide variety of roles in shows (most recently Miss Hannigan in our production of Annie), I’d never realised how much the director has to do and just how many decisions there are to make. Now I know better! It’s everything from costumes, to lighting, to sound, as well as encouraging the best performances from the cast – much more tiring than learning a part and appearing when the curtain goes up. I’ll need a rest after this one! As many of you will know, Sister Act (like our next Joy wearing her Director’s face show, Singin’ in the Rain) was originally a movie. Released in 1992, the film has remained a perennial favourite, regularly re-appearing on TV. It wasn’t until 2006 that the musical theatre version was first performed in the US. Many people who saw those first performances were surprised to find that, for copyright reasons, none of the songs from the movie were included in the musical. In fact, the writers had created completely original (and wonderful) songs for the show. Of course, the movie is also strongly associated with Whoopi Goldberg, and the role she created of Deloris Van Cartier has usually been played in the musical version by a black actress since then. However, most people don’t know that the movie was originally written with the singer and actress, Bette Midler, in mind. Knowing this, when you watch the movie, you can see how many of the lines were written to suit Bette Midler’s wisecracking style. I’ve had great fun trying to stop our nuns being too over the top, while trying to get our millennial Oxfordshire men to unbend and see themselves as 1970s macho hunks. The nuns were only too keen to ‘strut their funky stuff’, while the men found the whole Travolta-style gyrating slightly demeaning. Still, I hope I’ve managed to bring a little of that discotheque feel into the show. Now where’s that mirror ball? 4


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Musical Director ~ Mark Denton Mark’s passion for music began as a chorister with Pembroke College Choir, Oxford. His musical education was developed as a music scholar at Magdalen College School after which he studied a Performing Arts degree in London. He teaches peripatetic brass and piano lessons and conducts choral and instrumental ensembles in local independent schools. This is Mark’s tenth show with AOS and he is delighted to have been invited to be Musical Director again. He has previously conducted Sweet Charity, Copacabana and Annie for the Society and has appeared in The Music Man, 42nd Street, Half a Sixpence, The Mikado, Irene and The Sound of Music. His favourite role to date was as Patsy in an Australian production of Spamalot. Choreographer ~ Jess Townsend Jess studied Musical Theatre and Dance at The Margaret Howard Theatre College, London and graduated in 2011 having received the ‘Best Musical Theatre Student’ award. After graduating, she was cast as ‘Aladdin’ in Aladdin UK Tour and then sang and danced at numerous corporate events in London and around the UK. Before hanging up her professional dancing shoes, she had two wonderful years touring all around the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands with the highly successful company ‘Back to Broadway’. For the past 5 years she has run her own dance school, JH Performers, in her local area and choreographed The Oxford Youth Musical Theatre’s productions of Wizard of Oz, Miss Saigon, Crazy for You, CATS and Hot Mikado. Jess has taught at various Stagecoach Performing Arts schools around Oxfordshire and most recently has become the proud owner and Principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts – Headington. 5


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Wednesday Wallingford Centre 70, Kinecroft, 10:00am, 3:30pm, 5:30pm & 7:30pm Contact Amy 07514 255703 Saturday Abingdon Preston Road Community Centre Midget Close, off Preston Road 8:00am & 10:00am Tel Bev: 07895 059079 Saturday Didcot Didcot Baptist Church Wantage Road 7:00am & 9:00am Tel Kerry: 07583 085780 Calling members past and present. Consultant opportunities in your area. Contact Amy on 07514 255703 for more details.. 164


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Sister Act - a synopsis In the flashy, disco-tastic clubland of Philadelphia, Deloris Van Cartier is determined to be a star. Her hoodlum boyfriend, Curtis Jackson, has promised to fix this for her, but when Deloris learns that this has been a lie, she decides to leave him. Before she can get away, she witnesses the gang commit a murder and, terrified, she flees to the police. At the station, she meets ‘Sweaty’ Eddy Souther, an old school fellow, who decides that Deloris needs to go into protective custody. The safe house he chooses is a convent run by a no-nonsense Mother Superior. Deloris is horrified at the idea of living as a nun and rebels against the strict discipline of the life by visiting a bar and dancing. To punish her, the Mother Superior makes her responsible for the convent’s awful choir, but Deloris uses her musical background to transform them into a vocal tour-de-force. They become so successful, even the Pope wants to see them perform. Unfortunately, all the publicity leads to Curtis spotting Deloris and sending his thugs to finish her off. Deloris knows she must flee, but she’s grown more attached to the convent than she’d realised and decides to stay. Dressed as nuns, the gang corner Deloris and prepare to shoot, but at that moment the nuns arrive and intervene. Deloris is saved and the show can go ahead. National Operatic and Dramatic Association Abingdon Operatic Society is very proud to be a member of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and you may notice a number of the members of our front-of-house team wearing their NODA long service medals tonight. NODA’s vision is that amateur theatre should be successful and sustainable, providing a range of opportunities for people to develop their skills and enjoy taking part, at all levels. They support the education and information needs of individuals and groups, contributing greatly to the continued success of amateur theatre in the UK. As usual, a NODA representative will be attending the show during this week and feeding back to the Society on the production with the helpful and much anticipated ‘NODA crit’ — a review of the performance and all aspects of the production. 7


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John Wilkes Q&A Monsignor O’Hara You may have last seen him playing Oliver Warbucks in April’s AOS production of Annie, but now he’s thrown aside his millions to follow a life of piety. We’ve known John since he appeared in Irene with AOS in 1988. So let us introduce you! Do you know where your interest in musical theatre came from? There was always music at home when I was growing up, and we had a piano. I joined the Drama Society at school; I went to a boy’s school and this was a great way of meeting girls. My first full scale musical was at university - The Boyfriend. I had one or two lines which came out in my best Welsh valley accent! I also met lots of girls there, one of whom I ended up marrying. We met in a production of Cinderella and life has been something of a pantomime ever since! What’s the favourite role you’ve played and why? I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of enjoyable parts. Gilbert and Sullivan roles are always a good romp, and I enjoyed Gaylord Ravenal in Showboat. For sauciness, the Emcee in Cabaret takes a lot of beating and Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes was great fun. But top 8


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billing probably goes to Warbucks in the last AOS show Annie. It’s a fulfilling part and the show is good honest fluffy fun! From the shows you know, what would be your dream role? I always enjoyed watching the Fred Astaire films and imagined myself doing something like that. But my style of dancing is ... ahem … “different” to Fred’s and it probably would not be a good thing to do. I like comedies, something with a strong feelgood factor, and thumping good tunes. So I would like to play Sam Carmichael (the part played by Pierce Brosnan) in Mamma Mia. What’s the worst thing about show week? You know, I’m not sure there is a bad thing about show week. It’s the time the show comes alive. It’s great to hear the orchestra and see the lights and costumes. The director usually says “there’s nothing else I can do now” or somesuch and disappears to the bar, and we’re off! What’s not to like? What’s the best thing about being in a show? Two things – the camaraderie of doing something with a great bunch of people. We’re all in it together and working to do the best we can … for you, the audience. And that’s the second thing. I love the reactions of a live audience, and trying to please and entertain people who have made the effort to come and see us rather than sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. How do you go about learning a part? It starts with learning the lines. I read my lines out loud to myself several times for a few days and hope they seep in by osmosis. When that doesn’t work, I type out just my lines and print them off and leave them lying around the house, hoping they will magically leap from the page into my brain. When that fails, I try to work out the gist of what is said, which sometimes bears a passing resemblance to what was written. Eventually, after much avoidance and excuses, I get close and can remember most of the words, but not always in the right order. And then it happens, kerpow, I sort of get there and I can then start looking at the characterization. Are you aware of the audience when you’re on stage? Gosh yes! Performing would be a very flat experience without an 9 audience reacting to what’s going on. I sometimes think the audience is half of the performance. An audience is the very stuff of a live show and what makes it interactive and real. How do you combat performance nerves? Nerves are an essential part of performing I think, keeps you on your toes. I don’t get nervous about the things I do, but about the things I might not do… like forgetting a move or a word, or to come on at all. I do look over my words and moves before going on to do a scene, just to get in the “zone”. How do you feel when show week comes to an end? I know a lot of people come down with a bump after the excitement of the week of the show, but actually, I feel ok. I think that we’ve done our thing and now it’s time to move on to something new. What will you be doing next? Well, I belong to an a cappella singing group called ‘Acappella Sunday’. I arrange some of the songs and sing heartily and we have a gig coming up in Eynsham in November. So I shall be busy polishing everything up ready for that performance!


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Sister Act - Principal Cast Deloris Van Cartier Mother Superior Sister Mary Robert Sister Mary Patrick Sister Mary Lazarus Monsignor O’Hara Curtis Jackson Eddie Souther TJ Joey Pablo Tina Michelle Tara Melia Hunt Ann Turton Jenna Elliott Nicki Rochford Jennifer Cowling John Wilkes Michael Winiarski Paul Bruce Iain Launchbury Kevin Pope Neil Passingham Kate Brock Sarah Chitty The Company Kat Ballard-Martin, Debbie Bater, Simon Blainey, Di Bryan, Beverley Burnham, Kerry Callaghan, Cate Davis, Lesley Donovan, Valerie Findlay, John Gale, Olivia Hancock, Linda Harris, Helen Hawkins, Tina Hood-Liles. Kirsty Hunt, Ros Merriman, Lancia Mucheru, Jo Pickering, Vicki Owen, Isabelle Providence, Sophie Power, Jon Ridley, Kath Ridley, Amanda Robinson, Lorna Stevenson Walker, Stephen Webb Debbie Wilde The Orchestra Reed 1 Reed 2 Trumpet 1 Trumpet 2 Trombone Keyboard 1 Keyboard 2 Guitar Bass Percussion 1 Percussion 2 Harry Flint Amy Wood Luke Scott Robin Skerrett Dan King Drew Cowburn Denise Evans Glyn Devey Graeme Hollingdale Dave Hadland Chris Fletcher-Campbell 10


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Sister Act - Musical Numbers ACT I Scene One: a nightclub ‘Take Me To Heaven’ Deloris, Michelle and Tina ‘Fabulous, Baby!’ Deloris, Michelle and Tina Scene Two: an alley Scene Three: police station Scene Four: Queen of Angels porch/Mother Superior’s office ‘Here Within These Walls’ Mother Superior and Deloris Scene Five: the dining hall ‘It’s Good To Be A Nun’ Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus & Nuns Scene Six: police station Scene Seven: a street ‘When I Find My Baby’ Curtis, Joey, Pablo & TJ Scene Eight: a bar Scene Nine: street outside bar ‘I Could Be That Guy’ Eddie and the homeless Scene Ten: Mother Superior’s office ‘Here Within These Walls’ (reprise) Mother Superior Scene Eleven: the music room ‘Raise Your Voice’ Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus & Nuns ‘Take Me To Heaven’ (reprise) Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus & Nuns ACT 2 Scene One: a confessional Scene Two: the cathedral ‘Sunday Morning Fever’ Deloris, Mother Superior, Monsignor O'Hara, Eddie, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, & Nuns Scene Three: Curtis’s apartment ‘Lady In The Long Black Dress’ Joey, Pablo & TJ Scene Four: Mother Superior’s office ‘Haven’t Got A Prayer’ Mother Superior Scene Five: Mary Clarence’s room ‘Bless Our Show’ Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus & Nuns ‘The Life I Never Led’ Mary Robert Scene Six: Eddie’s apartment ‘Fabulous, Baby! Deloris, Eddie, Nuns & Fantasy Dancers ‘Sister Act’ Deloris Scene Seven: Queen of Angels porch ‘When I Find My Baby’ (reprise) Curtis Scene Eight: the cathedral ‘The Life I Never Led’ (reprise) Mary Robert ‘Sister Act’ (reprise) Deloris, Mother Superior, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus & Nuns ‘Spread The Love Around’ The Company 11


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12 The Company Left to right: Jon Ridley, Debbie Wilde, Sophie Power, Isabel Providence, Tina Hood-Liles, Sarah Chitty, Kat Ballard-Martin, Olivia Hancock, Lesley Donovan, Lorna Stevenson Walker, Di Bryan, John Gale Left to right: Amanda Robinson, Kirsty Hunt, Stephen Webb, Valerie Findlay, Kerry Callaghan, Vicki Owen, Helen Hawkins, Lancia Muchero, Linda Harris, Simon Blainey, Beverley Burnham, Ros Merriman, Debbie Bater, Kath Ridley, Cate Davis


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Enjoy the show? Post your comment at Deloris Van Cartier ~ Tara Melia Hunt Tara is so happy to have found a musical theatre home again with AOS! She has performed the roles of Norma Cassidy in Victor Victoria*, Fiona in Brigadoon*, Marsinah in Kismet** and Cinderella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Opera roles include Olga, Dorabella, Zerlina, Cherubino, Miss Jessel, The 5th Handmaid, Lauretta, Mercedes, Frasquita and Countess Ceprano. She currently teaches for Stagecoach Faringdon as well as giving private singing lessons in Abingdon. Thank you so much to Joy, Mark and Jess for giving her a chance to ‘strut my stuff, and do her thing!’ and to hubby Ian for all his support! *Nomination/ **Winner: Hawaii State Theatre Council Awards Mother Superior ~ Ann Turton Ann seems to be getting into the habit of playing nuns! Her last role for AOS was The Mother Superior in The Sound of Music and she takes on that title again in this production. Swapping Austria for the USA, she will not have to 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' this time, but the challenges that her character faces in this show give her very different heights to conquer. Ann first appeared onstage with AOS in White Horse Inn in 1968 and has subsequently taken principal roles in many shows, including Annie Get Your Gun (1970), The Wizard of Oz (1973), Kismet (1984), Kiss Me, Kate (1987), Man of La Mancha (1992), Calamity Jane (1994), and Hello, Dolly! (1997 and 2011). 13



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