Entertainment & Arts

Whoopi Goldberg returns to Sister Act stage musical

Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Saunders Image copyright Matthew Murphy/Oliver Rosser
Image caption Whoopi Goldberg will play Deloris Van Cartier and Jennifer Saunders will be Mother Superior

Whoopi Goldberg is to return to the London stage musical Sister Act - this time in the starring role she originally played in the two hit films.

The actress and comedian will play Deloris Van Cartier, the singer who hides in a convent disguised as a nun after she witnesses a murder.

Jennifer Saunders will play the convent's Mother Superior in the newly-adapted version of the hit musical.

Goldberg briefly appeared in the Mother role in 2010 in the West End show.

As well as performing, Goldberg will act as producer of the new version at London's Eventim Apollo, as she did when the show first debuted in the West End in 2009.

In a video posted on Twitter, Goldberg said: "Yeah, the original Deloris Van Carter is back. A little older, a little seasoned but really still kind of out there."

Saunders suggested Goldberg's performance as Deloris "could be the event of the century".

Co-producer Jamie Wilson said Goldberg would be "playing the part she is so famous and so loved for".

On Thursday matinees, Deloris will be played by West End star and Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards.

Image copyright Neil Mockford
Image caption Whoopi Goldberg was briefly in the early London production of the stage show

When Goldberg first joined the cast of the original London production at the London Palladium it was for a limited engagement.

She was forced to cancel her final appearances owing to family reasons, but made five subsequent appearances in October of that year, the week prior to the show's closure.

The musical's plot closely follows that of the first Sister Act film, where singer Deloris witnesses a murder and is forced to go into witness protection, joining the last place she's likely to be found - a convent.

As she initially struggles with life at the convent, under the guise of Sister Mary Clarence, Mother Superior sets her the task of working with the choir - leading Deloris to find her own voice as well as helping her friends find theirs.

The stage show features songs from Alan Menken, the award-winning composer known for his scores to Disney films such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

Sister Act on screen

The musical numbers from the movie are not used in the stage version due to copyright issues.

The stage production, which was originally staged in California in 2006, has since run on Broadway and been performed by touring companies around the world.

The first Sister Act comedy movie opened in 1992 and went on to become one of the most successful films of the early 1990s, making $232m (£180m) worldwide.

A 1993 sequel, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, sees Deloris having become a famous performer in Las Vegas before she has to return to her Sister Mary Clarence persona.

The film was not as big a hit as its predecessor and went on to make $57m (£44m) at the global box office.

Goldberg is currently one of the hosts on US talk show The View.

Sister Act the musical will run at London's Eventim Apollo from 29 July to 30 August 2020.


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