‘Sister Act’ sparkles with heavenly humor


Musicals are hit or miss on Las Cruces stages, but recent dalliances with the form have revealed an upswell of young, talented singer-actors with the kind of promise that could change all that.

“Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy,” now captivating audiences at the Las Cruces Community Theatre, is yet another example of this exciting turnaround. With a dynamic combination of seasoned actors, accomplished amateurs and even a few first-timers, Las Cruces stages have not looked this diverse in ages.

Despite a few forgotten lines and missed lyrics, and some voices that are, lets just say unpracticed,the energetic direction by Luis Castro keeps the show moving along expeditiously. Zeta Shearill, who plays the lead Deloris Van Cartier, had a rough start on opening night, but came roaring back in the second act with a sass and verve that promises future merit. A truly hilarious script and new songs written by Disney wunderkind Alan Menken – along with a gorgeously simple set and inspired lighting – ultimately prove saving graces.

The ensemble of “Sister Act: A Divine Comedy” at Las Cruces Community Theatre, opening May 31 in downtown Las Cruces.
The ensemble of “Sister Act: A Divine Comedy” at Las Cruces Community Theatre, opening May 31 in downtown Las Cruces.

There are standouts, of course. Kelly Jo Waggoner as Mother Superior is a dynamo, with impeccable comic timing and a voice that rattles the rafters. She owns every scene she appears in, while also being incredibly generous to her less seasoned co-stars. Bianca Marie Castro as Sister Mary Robert goes from mousey to moxie, with a beautiful voice that lends sweet exuberance to every song she sings. Victoria Gier, as relentlessly perky Sister Mary Patrick, chews scenery with an almost spot-on impression of Kathy Najimy.

To be honest, there are no duds in this show. Even among the actors for whom singing onstage is unfamiliar, the joy and passion that comes through in their performances more than makes up for the occasional cringe. Spotlight moments for officer Eddie (Christopher Quezada), gangster Curtis (Christian G. Nieves) and his goofy, minion thugs (Braden Gonzales, Steven Foldy II and Edward Leyva) are audience favorites with their delightful comic strutting and energetic delivery.

Of course, its the nuns who ultimately take this show to heavenly heights, and thats just as it should be. The new songs bring the nuns out of the pulpit and onto the stage in Vegas-style revue, with a fresh batch of groovy tunes that play ingeniously with the double entendre of ecclesiastical bliss. Delivering the kind of joyous interpretations that made the 1992 cinematic hit so popular, every actor wearing a habit in this sister act gives her all, proving it really is good to be a nun.

If you havent yet reserved your tickets, do so now. After the enthusiastic standing ovation the show received on opening night, you can bet word of mouth will keep tickets moving briskly. In these bleak times, this is the kind of entertainment that will make you remember what its like when you spread the love around.

“Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy” raises the roof at the Las Cruces Community Theatre, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 16, 2024. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

Review, Sister Act, Las Cruces Community Theatre