Playwright and executive director of AbunDance Academy of the Arts, Karisma Jay, top center, said the play mirrors the real life story of her trying to keep her dance school open.
Marc Enette

Call it art imitating life.

A Prospect-Lefferts Gardens dance school is reimagining the company’s displacement in their new stage play inspired by the Sister Act films, which will debut at Kings Theatre on June 25. AbunDance Academy of the Arts is presenting their project, “Sister Act, Abundantly.” The musical play is mainly based on the plot of the second film in the duology, which follows Catholic school nun Deloris Van Cartier, who heads the school choir and is trying to prevent their school from closing down. The play greatly mirrors a similar instance that the school underwent, said the founder and playwright.

“We are experiencing what it it feels like to keep our school from closing and to keep arts at forefront of our community,” said Karisma Jay. “That’s happening in real time, and that’s actually one of major ways we bring twist to the story because it’s our story as well.”

Early this year Jay discovered that the lease for her Rogers Avenue dance company was up, and the landlord would double their rent. In the process of preparing for the summer show, Jay said she came upon “Sister Act 2” and strongly related to the struggles in it. She rewrote her original idea and found inspiration from the movie because it hit home, she said.

“We didn’t anticipate having to tell the story and live that story at same time,” said Jay.

The two-hour show has a cast of more than 110 performers, from children to seniors, as young as three years old and 83 years old, according to Jay. She will also be playing the lead character Deloris.

Jay said that Deloris’ passion to save the school releflected her own drive and fight to keep the school in her community.

“Deloris Van Cartier was bringing arts to the community and making sure that she helps the next generation of students and leaders access their talents and sharpen their skills,” she said. “Deloris was championing for her community and particularly in this day and age we need more of that due to budget cuts, social events and political events happening — we really don’t take into consideration that without the arts we don’t really have much.”

The goal of the play is to continually keep the school’s programs running, but also provide the children with a creative outlet, said Jay. The school is no longer at their Rogers Avenue location but still needs support to find another place through their online crowdfund campaign.

“Community support is one of the major themes throughout the show. I’m very passionate about the arts, so I take it very personally and passionately and many times I see how society skims. “It doesn’t matter the age or walk of life, there are three-year-olds who know their part, and seniors and parents in the show dancing as well, so there’s really that sense of community and stress of art is important in community and it does change lives.”

“Sister Act, Abundantly” at Kings Theatre [1027 Flatbush Ave. between Tilden Avenue and Duryea Place in Flatbush, (347) 788-1069,]. June 25 at 6 pm. $65.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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