Sister Act, with its score by Little Shop of Horrors/Little Mermaid composer Alan Menken, is the latest Hollywood movie-turned-Broadway extravaganza to arrive onstage at the Orpheum. It's a feel-good fish-out-of-water yarn telling the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a nightclub performer whose world changes suddenly when she's hidden away in a convent after witnessing a crime.
This roadshow has a Memphian in the cast. You may catch Angie Marie Smith dancing in the ensemble or subbing for a lead, but as the "swing" in a physically demanding show, you will absolutely see her.
"People get this thing called 'Nun Neck'," Smith says, explaining why a common injury makes Sister Act such a demanding show for swings and understudies. "The head pieces weigh five pounds, so this happens a lot. We have a physical therapist come in once a week."
Smith, who covers for 11 roles in Sister Act, took her first turn onstage at Memphis' Evangelical Christian School playing Molly, the littlest orphan in Annie. At the time, she was so shy she auditioned with her back to the audience.
"The director took a chance," says Smith, who also performed with Bartlett Community Theatre in shows like Cotton Patch Gospel and The Secret Garden, where she played Colin.
"I played the boy," she recalls, wincing.
After graduating from Millikin University in Illinois, Smith worked regularly, moving from summer stock to tours of Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Cats.
"Sister Act" at the Orpheum, December 3rd-8th. $20-$90. orpheum-memphis.com