Whoopi producing ‘Sister Act’ for the stage

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/ Source: The Associated Press

Whoopi Goldberg is getting in the act again with “Sister Act.”

The performer will produce but not star in a London stage version of her hit 1992 movie about an on-the-lam singer who hides out in a convent. The musical will open June 2, 2009, at the London Palladium, with preview performances beginning May 6.

Goldberg will join forces with Stage Entertainment, one of Europe’s largest theatrical producers, a company headed by Joop Van Den Ende, in presenting the show.

“I really liked the direction they were going in,” Goldberg said in a telephone interview. “It (the film) is almost 20 years old. Rather than have someone repeat what was, you have to take it and redo it. That’s what they’ve done and they’ve done it really well.”

The musical, directed by Peter Schneider, has a score by Alan Menken (music) and Glen Slater (lyrics), who collaborated on Broadway’s “Little Mermaid” last season. The book is by Cherie and Bill Steinkellner, veteran television writers for such shows as “Cheers.” The choreography is by Anthony Van Laast, who did the dances for both the stage and film versions of “Mamma Mia!”

“Sister Act” had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in California in 2006 and later played Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre.

No word yet on casting.

“The show is fun,” Goldberg continued. “It’s not boring. And if I’m not bored, I’m your pal.”

But there are changes in the story, the performer added.

“She (the singer) still is a woman running away ... hidden away with all those nuns, a fish out of water,” Goldberg said. “But she is not as old as I am or was at the time (the movie was filmed). So she has a lot of decisions to make, more decisions to make than my character had. So it will be fun to watch. I’m excited.”