The setup: The 1992 film Sister Act was the perfect storm of Motown girl-group revival, a dream cast including Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, and Kathy Najimy, and a feel-good story that made Catholics and the sketchy denizens of Reno, Nevada, both seem a bit nicer than they probably are. It was the first and maybe even still the best in a long line of movies in which people find they can save their choir, their church, their very lives by singing louder and updating their moves a bit.
When the stage musical version was created 14 years later, powerhouse composer Alan Menken came up with all-new numbers that bow-chicka-bow in a smooth, R&B-gets-it-on-with-disco niche. Moving the action back to the 1970s in funky Philly, the show sensibly worked itself out through a few regional runs and London's West End before shaking up Broadway two seasons ago. Now we get to enjoy the North American tour at ASU Tempe's Gammage Auditorium.