Bartlett’s own Angela Marie Smith will be making a joyful noise Dec. 3-8 at the Orpheum Theater in the Broadway tour for “Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy.”
As a coloratura soprano with a three-octave range, she has earned an ensemble/partial swing role, which means she covers for the entire ensemble of 10 people and one of the leads. When she’s not in the show, she sings backstage.
“It’s not often you have such a large ensemble of women with talented, big voices,” Smith said. “One of my favorite numbers is ‘Raise Your Voice.’ It’s kind of when the nuns come out to sing. By the end they’re coming out with glorious notes. It’s such a joy.”
“Sister Act” is the five-time Tony-nominated Broadway musical comedy featuring original music by Alan Menken. It tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva who the cops hide in a convent after she witnesses a shooting. Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps the sisters find their voices as she rediscovers her own. Film buffs will recall Whoopi Goldberg in the 1992 movie of the same name.
“It’s really a show for all ages,” Smith said. “It might make you laugh or make you cry. It’s a really, really fun show.”
This will be her first performance at the Orpheum and a welcome home-turf addition to her career. She’s currently getting to stay at home with her parents during the local performances, along with some of her cast members.
Smith graduated from Evangelical Christian School (ECS) in Cordova and started her career at the Bartlett Theatre. She has a BFA in musical theater with a minor in dance from Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. Her skills include piano (16 years), guitar, dance (ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop), and (in a touch of whimsy from her website) an “excellent baby cry.” As a professional, her credits also include the touring productions of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Cats.”
Smith said her favorite part of “Sister Act” is all the singing.
“It is definitely what I love to do,” she noted. “I grew up singing, starting when I was six or seven at the Performing Arts Center in Germantown.”
Her advice for aspiring young actors, actresses, and singers in the Bartlett area is to work hard for their dreams.
“I grew up singing and dancing and acting. It’s a matter of doing what you love, and loving what you do. If you love doing that, you’ll automatically have the drive to get there and do that. That’s kind of what happened to me. I love it so much – it’s my life.”
n Sister Act Performances
Dec. 3-8 at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 S. Main Street, Memphis:
7:30 p.m. Dec. 3-5
8 p.m. Dec. 6
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 7
1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 8
Tickets are $20-$90 and are on sale at orpheum-memphis.com, the Orpheum Box Office at (901) 525-3000, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, and Ticketmaster at (901) 743-ARTS.