Poster Roaster: Sister Act

4 Apr

Sister Act, beloved-movie-turned-musical-hit-in-London, is finally coming to the Broadway. And, as many shows that transport themselves across the pond do, they have changed their artwork accordingly. So let’s play a little game, shall we? Here are the two artworks for the two cities, and let’s guess which is the U.K. and which is the U.S. of A.

Option A:

And option B:

This would have been a no-brainer for me. Option A has all the hallmarks of a Yankee poster – striking blocky graphics, abstracted cartoons, bright colors. Option B has what I will henceforth refer to as ‘British Shinyface’ – the weird effect that looks like you’ve taken an actual photo of a person and put it through one of those ‘make your photo into a sketch!’ machines at the mall, except for instead of a sketch you come out looking like what a human and a silicone sex doll would have if it were possible for them to reproduce. (I talk a little more about British Shinyface in the Poster Roaster for Arcadia, found here).

But I admit, gentle readers, had I guessed this way, I would be wrong. The top poster is actually from the British Production, and the bottom is from Broadway. Interesting, right? Maybe they wanted to remind British audiences that it’s a brassy American show with gangsters, and remind American audiences it was a hit in London – I don’t know. But in any case, let’s take a closer look at the art, shall we?

First of all, London. Here’s the full poster:

Before I dig in, let me state for the record that I prefer this poster to the Broadway one. I like the graphics, and I think it’s energetic and fun and gets the message of the show across – the nun who throws things into chaos with her spangles and sass. However, I think there are two major issues with this poster:

1. Where are her eyes? Is she the Mouth of Sauron? Is the idea that after Sauron is defeated, the Mouth of Sauron gets some serious dental work and becomes a sassy nightclub singer? Because I would see that show, I’m just saying.

For those of you who are not LOTR nerds, this is the Mouth of Sauron.

2. AWKWARD VAGINA SYNDROME ALERT!!!! This one’s even WORSE than the ‘Catch Me If You Can’ poster, for which I coined the term (relive the magic here). Because take another gander at this poster. Yes, she could be the woman inspiring everyone with her sassiness, or she’s that clueless woman who doesn’t realize that everyone is looking STRAIGHT UP HER OPEN SKIRT. See it now? One nun, directly below, is giggling, the one on the left is blocking her eyes and winking as though the sight is too blinding,  and the nuns on the side seem intrigued. The top nun, presumably the Mother Superior, seems horrified, and the gangster seems oddly nonplussed, considering he’s got the full view down in his corner (although technically, if she’s the Mouth of Sauron, he’s probably just seeing this:

That's a little 'Sauron is a Vagina' joke for y'all.

Luckily, the American poster does not suffer from Awkward Vagina Syndrome. However, this does not mean it is free of anatomical issues.

As soon as I can get home and do a screen cap, I’ll focus on on the body at the bottom, but for now, you’ll have to use your own eyeballs. Wisely, they have chosen to feature a human being this time, with eyes, and with no upskirt issues. Even more wisely, the human is recognizably Patina Miller, the star of the show whose status as a star in general is only a matter of time, according to everyone I know who has seen the show. But apparently, her skills go beyond singing and acting to include ‘The Exorcist’-like body contortions. For though the top half of her body is facing forward, it looks like the bottom half of her body is facing left. In addition, though the nuns with her all have different (shiny) faces, they all have the exact same strange little cupped hand. So between the awkward twisted hips of Shiny Patina, and the identical hands reaching up to worship the glowing orb that is the neon logo, it does indeed look like a ‘divine’ musical, although perhaps not quite the religion they were going for:

The original Sister Act, the Pharaoh Akhnaton, 1383 BC, who worshiped the sun (recognize those hands?), had issues with torso twisting, and was apparently fabulous, baby.

P.S. Between The Book of Mormon‘s tagline as ‘God’s Favorite Musical’, Sister Act claiming to be a ‘Divine Musical Comedy’, and off-Broadway’s The Divine Sister calling itself ‘Holy Outrageous’, I think we have ourselves a musical theater religion-off this season. And I know I for one would like to see the question of whose religion-themed musical is most godly settled in the only logical way: with a Musical Theater Religion Rumble. Get your crucifixes and tap shoes, peeps, it is ON.


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