Just when I think stereotypes and negative portrayals of Catholic sisters and nuns can’t get any worse, I read something like this review of Sister Act the Musical. No, no it’s not the musical that is problematic. It’s the review.

Sister Act the Musical ReviewLike Mormons, nuns are ideal subjects for musical theater. They seem likeable and wholesome, exotic yet familiar, and inherently optimistic. They sing in harmony as part of their daily routine. And there are endless chances for variations on a long-proven gag that was around way before “The Sound of Music”: tickle or test a nun in some way and you’ll find a far savvier, racier and worldlier creature than that drab habit would lead you to believe. Musicals need a repressive exterior and something deep that’s aching to pop out. Nuns make ideal sense.

(Source: Theater Loop by Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune, April 25, 2011)

NOTE: When this review was originally posted (it might be removed by now), it had this headline: “‘Sister Act’ on Broadway: Fun lurks beneath the habit”. Shame on whomever put that headline there but kudos to the Trib for taking it down.

Because I can’t bear to read it again, I thought I’d share my pain with you via a quiz.

  1. What stereotypes are used in this review?
  2. Are there more accurate images used by the author that could have been developed?
  3. Is there another more compelling but less revolting way to put some pizazz in a story rather than relying on cheap, stereotypical images?

I await your wisdom. In the meantime, I must return to my singing and repressed exoticness.