‘Sister Act’ brings disco to a convent

Hollis Resnik portrays ‘hard-nosed’ Mother Superior
May. 10, 2013 @ 10:47 AM

The musical version of “Sister Act” has a different vibe – a disco vibe – than the 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. The music and the date are the big differences from the movie, said one of the stars on the national tour of the Broadway show.
“It takes place in 1978 glitz, with disco balls and a pop disco feel indicative of that time period,” said actress Hollis Resnik, who portrays Mother Superior. The musical features original music by composer Alan Menken. “We have a group of wonderful singers and dancers,” Resnik said. The tour of “Sister Act” will be on stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center Tuesday through May 19.
“This is a great show – totally selling out. Everyone just loves it,” Resnik said in a phone interview from the show’s stop in Cincinnati this week.
This is the fourth national tour she has been cast in, including “Les Miserables.” “Sister Act” started rehearsals in New York City last August and began the current tour in October in Toronto. She has seen most of the cities before, on other tours.
“A national tour is a great way to make a salary for an actor,” she said. Resnik has a job for a year and a half rather than the usual three months of theatrical productions. Plus, it allows her to save for retirement, she said.
“It’s also a great role. Mother Superior has the best lines – she has a really dry sense of humor. It’s a great emotional journey,” she said. It’s not her first nun role – nuns are popular in theater, Resnik said.
Cast members’ day off is usually Monday, which is also a travel day. But they have their days free before night shows. Resnik spends her down time playing tennis, at the gym, or dancing Argentine tango, something she took up a year and a half ago and got hooked. She explains that Argentine tango is what’s danced in Buenos Aires, not show tango.
“It’s about people – very close, connected, the embrace,” she said. Resnik doesn’t travel with a dance partner, so “I’ve been dancing with strangers for months now,” she said.
On stage, Resnik likes the acting journey of Mother Superior.
“She has a hard-nosed personality and cares deeply for the nuns she takes care of,” she said.
Resnik’s character in “Sister Act” runs the convent where lead actress Ta’Rea Campbell, as wannabe disco diva Deloris, is hiding out after witnessing a crime. Deloris encourages the nuns to, as one song’s title shows, “Raise Your Voice.” After Deloris arrives, Mother Superior loses control, but they come together as friends, Resnik said. An important message of “Sister Act,” she said, is that “anybody can get along, under the circumstances.”

WHAT: “Sister Act”
WHEN: Tuesday through May 19
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St., Durham
TICKETS: www.dpacnc.com