In October 2010, Beane (The Little Dog Laughed, Xanadu) told Playbill.com that he had traveled to London to see the West End production of Sister Act and was in negotiations to replace original book writers Cheri and Bill Steinkellner. The New York Post first reported word of Beane's involvement last fall.
When producers announced casting for the Broadway production Feb. 1, many of the characters were different than those listed in the London production, indicating that structural changes to the script were in store.
A Feb. 28 announcement states that Beane has authored "additional material" and will be working alongside the Steinkellners.
While it will maintain the original West End score penned by Academy Award winner Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, Sister Act will get fresh directorial perspective from Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks. Peter Schneider staged the original West End premiere.
Beane's most recent play, Mr. and Mrs. Fitch, premiered Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre last season. His new pop musical Lysistrata Jones (previously titled Give It Up!) debuted at the Dallas Theater Center in early 2010, and will arrive Off-Broadway this spring. He earned a Tony and Olivier Award nomination for The Little Dog Laughed and has also penned As Bees in Honey Drown, Music from a Sparkling Planet and the screenplay "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar." His play The Nance received a fall 2010 reading starring Nathan Lane. Sister Act The Musical will begin previews March 24 and officially open April 20 at the Broadway Theatre. Olivier Award nominee Patina Miller, who originated the role of Deloris Van Cartier in the London production, repeats her work for the Broadway bow.
Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment produce the Broadway run.
The Sister Act cast also boasts Tony Award winner Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza) as Mother Superior, Fred Applegate (Young Frankenstein) as Monsignor, Sarah Bolt (Wicked) as Sister Mary Patrick, John Treacy Egan (The Producers) as Joey, Demond Green (The Toxic Avenger) as TJ, Chester Gregory (Dreamgirls) as Eddie, Kingsley Leggs (The Color Purple) as Curtis, Marla Mindelle (South Pacific) as Sister Mary Robert, Audrie Neenan (Picnic) as Sister Mary Lazarus and Caesar Samayoa (The Pee-wee Herman Show) as Pablo.
The Sister Act ensemble will include Jennifer Allen, Natalie Bradshaw, Charl Brown, Christina DeCicco, Holly Davis, Madeleine Doherty, Alan H. Green, Blake Hammond, Wendy James, Carrie A. Johnson, Kevin Ligon, Louise Madison, Marissa Perry, Ernie Pruneda, Corbin Reid, Lance Roberts, Rashidra Scott, Jennifer Simard, Lael Van Keuren, Roberta Wall and Alena Watters.
The Broadway production will feature the work of original London creative team members choreographer Anthony Van Laast, scenic designer Klara Zieglerova, costume designer Lez Brotherston and lighting designer Natasha Katz. John Shivers is the sound designer for the Broadway run.
Michael Kosarin will serve as musical supervisor, with dance music arrangements by Mark Hummel, orchestrations by Doug Besterman and electronic music by Andy Barrett. Music director is Brent-Alan Huffman.
According to producers, "When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won't be found - a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior. Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon the gang are giving chase, only to find themselves up against Deloris and the power of her new found Sister Hood."
The Broadway Theatre is located at 1681 Broadway. For tickets phone (212) 239-6200, or visit Telecharge.com.