A Nun, Two, Three! Sister Act Opens On Broadway April 20
By Adam Hetrick
Following a 2009 London premiere, the disco musical Sister Act is born again in New York City. The retooled Broadway production, featuring a score by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, new direction by Jerry Zaks and an updated book by Douglas Carter Beane, officially opens April 20 at the Broadway Theatre.
Stage Entertainment, along with Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the 1992 film comedy about a nun on the run, are among the lead producers of the 1970s-set musical that has been rewritten for Broadway audiences. American actress Patina Miller, who earned an Olivier Award nomination for originating the role of Deloris Van Cartier in London, repeats her work for the Broadway run. Previews began March 24.
The musical arrives on Broadway with new members to its creative team, including Tony Award-winning director Zaks (Guys and Dolls, The Addams Family) at the helm and significant new book material penned by Tony Award nominee Beane (The Little Dog Laughed, Xanadu). Emmy winners Cheri and Bill Steinkellner penned the original script.
An earlier incarnation of Sister Act debuted at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2006, prior to a 2007 engagement at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta under the direction of Peter Schneider. A refocused London production, again under Schneider's direction, opened at the London Palladium June 2, 2009. It concluded its West End run Oct. 30, 2010. A U.K. tour and Hamburg production will begin shortly.
Academy Award-winning composer Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) and lyricist Slater (Love Never Dies) penned the score, a majority of which has remained intact since London, with a few musical tweaks made for Broadway.
"I…didn't want to write [Sister Act] in a Motown style, because, frankly, I had already done that with Little Shop of Horrors," composer Menken told Playbill.com in 2010, when his Leap of Faith was getting a tryout in Los Angeles. "I had always wanted to write a disco musical. I had always wanted to write a musical that pulled on all those fabulous styles from the '70s. And I thought this was a perfect opportunity for it, and Glenn [Slater] and I embraced that opportunity."
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 includes 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 features the work of original London creative team members, including 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 serves 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.
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