ROANOKE RAPIDS — “Sister Act Jr.” premiers Friday and Saturday, by the music drama camp of First Presbyterian Church.
The church-sponsored show is the fourth performance from the group of children after putting on “Godspell Jr.,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Jr.,” and “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.” while missing last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Choir Director Denise Hackenburg said this is the first time the group is performing “Sister Act Jr.”
“The music is absolutely fantastic,” Hackenburg said. “The music and the dancing, and it’s just such a fun show.”
The play is an adaptation from the 1992 comedy film “Sister Act” featuring Whoopi Goldberg, who plays Deloris Wilson, a nightclub singer who takes refuge in a convent from a mob and ends up turning a choir group into a public hit that eventually jeopardizes her identity.
“The music was written especially for this show, and it’s just so clever and bouncy and fun,” Hackenburg said. “People who have never seen ‘Sister Act’ the movie will love it too.”
Madalyn Godfrey, who is not part of the church, plays the main character that Goldberg brought to life in the film. She is a fan of the original motion picture. Godfrey said a few differences between the movie and play, such as the “Take Me to Heaven” song, are played twice with a nightclub version and church version in the play.
When asked if stepping into the role required extensive preparation, she said the group practices musicals throughout the summer, and Hackenburg selects the roles for the participants. Godfrey said nobody knows what roles each person will fill until the end of the day, and most practices are spent at home learning lines and conducting characterizations for their characters.
“Whenever I perform, I really love it because it’s being in front of the crowd, and it’s you’re creating that character that isn’t yourself,” she said. “It’s the way to understand the personality of others but an opportunity for you to dig deep into understanding your own true self, and you’re able to bring that out for people. I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces and hearing the laughter. It’s such a wonderful feeling.”
Godfrey said she puts her own twist to her characters when asked if she felt a connection to her character.
“I am not probably as bold as the character in the play,” she said. “But there are aspects of her that I can definitely relate to making people laugh. I know for me, I’m very vocal with my facial expressions. So, I like adding that into her character.”
Linda Brewer, a member of the Christian Ed Committee, said she and others were there to help support the participants with costumes, snacks and other things. Brewer said she is a fan of the film, but also noticed the differences in the play.
“I am amazed at what these children have learned already,” she said. “It’s amazing. We have children here from Hertford County or Bertie County, from Greenville — we have children from very different backgrounds who are here, and somehow it just meshes.”
The free event begins at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday inside the Loy building, located at 16 E. Fifth St. For more information, call 252-537-4018.