'Sister Act' performed at Wharton


Despite having years of theatrical experience under his belt, actor and director Charles Barksdale never loses his spark for the stage.

“I get to have fun every night,” Barksdale said. “I could be in a bad mood, but once I hit the stage, it all goes away and nothing matters anymore.”

Barksdale plays TJ in the Broadway rendition of “Sister Act,” which came to MSU Feb. 12-17 at Wharton Center. He said the musical follows the plot of the 1992 movie, which starred Whoopi Goldberg as Deloris, but with a few surprise twists that the movie doesn’t include.

“This lounge singer is trying to get her big break, and she’s dating this horrible man (Curtis) and witnesses (him) kill someone,” Barksdale said. “It’s a show about her collaboration with the nuns and finding things she wants out of life, and it becomes about love and finding what you’re looking for in the most unexpected places.”

Chemical engineering sophomore Geoff Sabourin said the film makes its mark at the end of the production.

“At first I was confused, but at the end I thought it was for a good purpose,” he said. “I was inspired (by Whoopi’s character).”

The music for the show was written by Alan Menken, who wrote the music for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and has won eight Oscars for his work.

With the movie’s popularity, Wharton Center Public Relations Manager Bob Hoffman said the musical brought a sense of curiosity.

“Audiences just love it and the humor that goes along with it,” Hoffman said. “People have already heard of the movie and are interested to see it.”

Barksdale admitted to having seen the musical three times on Broadway, and said his love for his character grows with each performance.

“He’s goofy and silly and comedic and kind of ridiculous,” he said.
“There’s really nothing to not like about him. He does random things throughout the musical, and it doesn’t really make sense, but it’s still funny.”

But above all, Barksdale said Deloris closing out the play with singing “Sister Act” in the show’s finale always will be his favorite part to watch in the performance.

“It’s cliché — you know it’s coming,” he said. “It’s just her on stage with the spotlight, and at that moment, you really feel for Deloris. You forgive any of her wrongs.”

With a creative blend of drama and comedy, Barksdale said the musical will leave audiences surprised and satisfied.

“You’ll feel good about life, you’ll feel joyous and happy,” he said. “(Besides), who doesn’t like sparkling dancing nuns?”

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