'Sister Act' musical finally heading to Broadway
Following productions in Pasadena, Atlanta and London, the stage musical adaptation of "Sister Act" is finally making its way to Broadway.
The show's producers -- including Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the 1992 Touchstone Pictures film -- said Thursday that the musical will open in New York in the spring of 2011, but they did not specify an opening date or a theater.
Jerry Zaks, a four-time Tony winner, will direct the Broadway version of the show, which features a score by multiple Oscar-winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. Zaks has not directed the previous incarnations of the musical.
"Sister Act" opened at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2006 in a production directed by Peter Schneider and choreographed by Marguerite Derricks. Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote in his review that the show "has Broadway blockbuster written all over it. But it's going to need a little divine intervention if it's to become more than just another generically manufactured hit."
The musical opened at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in early 2007 with the same lead creative team. Last year, the show debuted in the West End at the London Palladium, with Schneider staying on as director and Anthony Van Laast taking choreography duties.
No casting has been announced for the Broadway production. Actress Dawnn Lewis played the lead role in Pasadena and Atlanta, while Patina Miller took the role in London.
Featuring a book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, "Sister Act" tells the story of a lounge singer who must hide in a convent to avoid reprisals from the Mafia. The original screenplay was written by Joseph Howard.
The Broadway production will feature choreography by Van Laast, production design by Klara Zieglerova and costumes by Lez Brotherston.
Producers said they are planning a Hamburg, Germany, production of "Sister Act" that is set to open in December.
-- David Ng[Updated: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of choreographer Anthony Van Laast.]
Photo: A scene from the Pasadena Playhouse production of "Sister Act" in 2006, starring Dawnn Lewis and Elizabeth Ward Land. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times