9Alexis Tidwell, like other dazzling singers, finds herself singing on her treadmill to keep up with the talent in her current show. This is hard, she may admit, because this isn’t a talent of flesh and blood but rather a fictional diva who can sing and dance and perform at a non-stop pace. A Vegas showgirl who often steals the stage.
By any means, Tidwell will do the same.
“You have to hit the gas and go 90 then come to a full stop,” she says. “I want to compromise the vocals as little as possible.”
Tidwell laughs and says that when she’s out at a public gym on the treadmill, instead of belting it out, she’ll take all the breaths needed for the songs instead.
“All the technical things of singing without the phonating. I think that’s something people don’t think about.”
Her love interest in the show, played by actor Joshua Walker, says he finds himself out of breath too after his musical number. When asked how many numbers he will have to perform, he laughs and holds up just his pointer finger.
“It's not as much,” he laughs, admitting he’s in some group numbers too. “ … and it’s not in heels.”
Tidwell will be jumping in heels and dresses and of course, a nun’s costume since she will be playing Deloris Van Cartier in the upcoming production of Sister Act at Cape Fear Regional Theatre. Walker will be playing the detective Eddie Souther.
“We call him sweaty Eddie,” he laughs. “Well, they call me sweaty Eddie.”
This has much to do with, Walker says, the fact that his character is often nervous. He’s the good cop who wants to be the bad cop. For Eddie, the play will show a dynamic journey for his character who starts out as a nervous wreck.
“Anytime you see him, he’s sweating,” Walker laughs. And then suddenly, Walker goes by the alter ego Sweaty Eddie.
The show will include 20 big song numbers and 30 in total. For Director West Hyler, it’s what he would call a “monumental musical.” Hyler was approached first about directing the show and the moment he accepted he could think of no better Deloris than Tidwell. He had gotten to see her perform through his wife’s assistant directing job in a production of Beautiful.
“The show is on her shoulders,” he said. “It’s a marathon performance.”
This also explains Tidwell’s take to the treadmill to ensure she could keep up the vocals with all the dancing that is required in this production. Unlike the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, the musical Sister Act has original music, leaving out all of the doo whoops of Whoopi’s days.
“You get to see a lot of the characters' internal thoughts and wants,” Hyler says. “It allows a disco style. It’s a very dance-forward show.”
Each of the songs in the show will have dance breaks in them. For Hyler, choosing Deloris’s love interest wasn’t as straightforward. He knew that Eddie in this production would need to sing. He needed someone to do all that and find the comedy and love interest piece of the show.
“You have to have someone that is immediately likable,” Hyler says.
Mary Kate, the Artistic Director for Cape Fear Regional Theatre, suggested Walker. Walker, of course, accepted the role but says he has found the challenge in the cohesiveness of the story. For Walker, he has to go on stage and make the “story make sense.”
“I am on the spectrum,” he says. “When things just go through the alphabet things go a little easier for me.”
This isn’t always the case in musical theater. Pivoting is key. The theatre, its current actors and Hyler, all feel like the upcoming show is a great responsibility. It is the last show in the theatre before the renovations begin this summer.
“It’s the ultimate show to do it with,” says Ashley Owen, Marketing Director for the theatre.
The production will run from May 2nd until May 26th. Tickets are on sale online with one night already being sold out.
The folks at the theatre will host a military appreciation night and teacher appreciation night with 25% off of ticket prices. There will also be a “Disco Diva Night” featuring snacks and drinks prior to the feature as well as a “Boogie” with L-Boogie the choreographer for the show.
Tickets range from $19-$37. For more information visits www.cfrt.org.

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