Peter Schneider directs the musical — based on the 1992 motion picture — which began previews Oct. 24 at the California stage and opened Nov. 3 for a run originally slated through Nov. 26. The show extended twice at the Playhouse and closes Dec. 23. The musical will play its Georgia run Jan. 17-Feb. 25, 2007.
Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast) wrote original music for the work, with lyrics by Glenn Slater (newyorkers, That's Life). Cheri and Bill Steinkellner provide the book based on the screenplay by Joseph Howard.
"When disco club singer Deloris Van Cartier is placed in protective custody in a dying convent, her unique brand of funk comes face-to-face with the traditions of the church and the strict order is in for a change," reads a Sister Act press release. "Masquerading as a nun named Mary Clarence, this Sister's act will have you laughing and singing in the aisles."
Joining Lewis in the cast are Elizabeth Ward Land as Mother Superior, Harrison White (The Lion King, Purlie) as mobman Shank, David Jennings as cop Eddie, Amy K. Murray as Sister Mary Patrick, Beth Malone as Sister Mary Robert, Audrie Neenan as Sister Mary Lazarus and Henry Polic II as Monsignor Howard.
Sister Act features choreography by Marguerite Derricks. Tim Weske is fight coordinator. The design team includes David Potts (set), Donald Holder (lighting), Garry Lennon (costumes), Carl Casella and Domonic Sack (sound) and Carol F. Doran (wig and hair). Brent-Alan Huffman is music director and conductor. Michael Kosarin handles music supervision. Doug Besterman provides orchestrations, and dance music arrangements are by Mark Hummel. Michelle Elkin serves as associate choreographer. Eileen F. Haggerty is production stage manager.
Lewis, perhaps best known to television audiences for her turn as Jaleesa Vinson Taylor on TV's "A Different World," appears in the upcoming film version of "Dreamgirls" as Melba Early. The actress, who has been seen on TV in "NYPD Blue," "Girlfriends" and "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," has trod the boards before in the national tour of The Tap Dance Kid, in Street of the Sun (Mark Taper Forum) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Other credits include "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" and voiceover work on "Futurama," "King of the Hill," "Spider Man" and "The Boondocks."
The song list includes "Light My Way (Prologue)," "Take Me to Heaven," "Fabulous, Baby!," "A Simple Life," "How I Got the Calling," "Dress to Kill," "How I Got the Calling (Reprise)," "Goin' to Hell," "I Could Be That Guy," "Raise Your Voice," "Take Me to Heaven (Reprise)," "Sunday Morning Fever," "Lady in the Long Black Dress," "A Simple Life (Reprise)," "Sister Act," "The Life I Never Led," "Would It Kill Me?," "Dress to Kill (Reprise)," "I Haven’t Got a Prayer," "Light My Way" and "Mirror Ball."
The 1992 movie starred Whoopi Goldberg in the role of the singer-turned-sister opposite Maggie Smith and Kathy Najimy as her habit brethren. Harvey Keitel also appeared in the film, which was directed by Emile Ardolino.
Sister Act was the highest-selling production in the theatre's history with over $1 million in ticket sales. (The previous record holder was only months before, August Wilson's Fences, starring Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett.) Sister Act heads to Atlanta's Alliance Theatre (Jan. 17-Feb. 25, 2007).
The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Ave. in Pasadena, CA. For more information visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.