Sister Act's story of a murder witness hiding out in a convent is similar to a summer blockbuster in that it viscerally excites despite a flimsy premise and plot points advanced through coincidences of convenience. Transposed from the 1992 movie to 1970s Philadelphia, this tuner features songs from legendary composer Alan Menken, who nicely layers in the '70s soundscape, and a book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, sitcom veterans who don't fully disguise their oeuvre. Ta'Rea Campbell, as a spunky, funky and funny Deloris Van Cartier, plays perfectly off the delightfully dry wit of Hollis Resnik's Mother Superior. Both actresses showcase resonant voices and are supported by a solid cast with standouts that include E. Clayton Cornelious (a lovable “Sweaty” Eddie), Florrie Bagel (a tremendously energetic Sister Mary Patrick), Lael Van Keuren (the demure but feisty Mary Robert), Diane J. Findlay (Mary Lazarus) and Richard Pruitt (Monsignor O'Hara). Veteran director Jerry Zaks clearly understands comic timing, and his vision is fully realized by Klara Zieglerova's sparkly set, Natasha Katz's colorful lighting and Lez Brotherston's amazing costumes. It's hardly a groundbreaking work that lingers, but it's a fun ride while it lasts. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; through July 28. (800) 982-2787,

Tue., July 9, 8 p.m.; Wed., July 10, 8 p.m.; Thu., July 11, 8 p.m.; Fri., July 12, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 13, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., July 14, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Tue., July 16, 8 p.m.; Wed., July 17, 8 p.m.; Thu., July 18, 8 p.m.; Fri., July 19, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 20, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., July 21, 1 & 6:30 p.m.; Tue., July 23, 8 p.m.; Wed., July 24, 8 p.m.; Thu., July 25, 8 p.m.; Fri., July 26, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 27, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., July 28, 1 & 6:30 p.m., 2013

LA Weekly