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Everything you need to know about 'Sister Act'

The soul-stirring musical comedy is returning to the West End, with Beverley Knight and Alexandra Burke both taking on the title role in this heavenly show.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

Hallelujah! The glorious musical Sister Act is heading back to the West End, playing at the Dominion Theatre from March. Adapted from the hit film of the same name, the toe-tapping show was last seen in London in 2022, and is now set to raise the roof and rock the pews all over again.

This run of Sister Act has two fabulous leading ladies. Queen of soul Beverley Knight will first star as the lounge singer Doloris Van Cartier, who hides out in a convent after witnessing a murder, and transforms its choir into a national sensation. Then, in June, Alexandra Burke will succeed Knight in the role.

The company also features Gavin and Stacey’s Ruth Jones as the Mother Superior, as well as Lesley Joseph, Lemar, Clive Rowe, and Lizzie Bea, belting out soul-stirring, gospel-tinged songs by Alan Menken such as “Take Me To Heaven,” “How I Got the Calling,” “Raise Your Voice,” and “Spread the Love Around.”

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What is Sister Act about?

Sister Act more or less follows the story from the beloved 1992 comic movie, which starred Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith, although it makes a few changes for the stage. We begin in Philadelphia in 1977 and see lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier auditioning for her gangster boyfriend Curtis Jackson, but he refuses to let her perform in his club. He also ditches her for Christmas to be with his wife.

Deloris decides to break up with Curtis, but accidentally stumbles upon him and his gang killing a man who they think ratted them out to the cops. Deloris flees to the police, and officer Eddie decides to put her into witness protection and hide her in a convent; her new name is Sister Mary Clarence.

Deloris is initially horrified by the convent lifestyle, but she finds a new purpose when she takes over the convent’s terrible choir. Their new up-tempo hymn attracts new congregants and donations, but annoys the Mother Superior.

The choir’s success keeps growing, contributing towards a fund to remodel the church. They are also asked to perform for the Pope. However, Curtis’s men invade the convent and hold Deloris and the nuns at gunpoint. Eddie comes to their rescue, and shares a kiss with Deloris. She also makes peace with the Mother Superior, and the choir triumphantly sing for the Pope.

Where is Sister Act playing?

Sister Act is playing at the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End. The Dominion is situated right in the heart of the capital, on Tottenham Court Road – and just off Oxford Street. The venue has a massive capacity of 2,069.

When can I see Sister Act?

Sister Act begins its London run in 2024 on 15 March, and Beverley Knight plays the lead role from then until 8 June. Alexandra Burke then takes over the lead and continues the run from 10 June to 31 August.

How long is Sister Act?

The running time of Sister Act in London is 2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 20-minute interval.

What days is Sister Act playing?

Sister Act plays seven days a week at the Dominion Theatre, with matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday, and evening performances Monday through Saturday. For the complete performance schedule and show times, visit the Sister Act page on London Theatre.

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Major productions of Sister Act

Sister Act had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in California on 24 October 2006. It ran until 23 December, becoming the venue’s highest-grossing show ever. Dawnn Lewis led the show as Deloris.

The show then ran at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, from 17 January - 25 February 2007.

On 2 June 2009, Sister Act opened in the West End. It played at the London Palladium, now led by Patina Miller (Deloris) and Sheila Hancock (Mother Superior), and ran until 30 October 2010.

A revised version of the show made its Broadway debut on 20 April 2011 at the Broadway Theatre, with Miller reprising her acclaimed lead performance.

Sister Act has since had major tours in the UK, the US, and internationally, as well as being mounted in Germany, Denmark, and Brazil.

In 2022, Sister Act returned to London and ran at the Hammersmith Apollo, starring Beverley Knight and Jennifer Saunders – and earning a five-star review from London Theatre – before embarking on a UK tour.

What awards has Sister Act won?

The original West End production of Sister Act was nominated for four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.

The Broadway production was also recognised. It picked up five Tony Award nominations and five Drama Desk nominations.

More recently, the 2022 West End revival was nominated for two Oliviers: Best Musical Revival, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Clive Rowe.

Who stars in the London production?

Beverley Knight is back in the habit, reprising her acclaimed performance as Deloris Van Cartier. This is an exciting second opportunity for London audiences to see Knight in action. Then, from the summer onwards, Alexandra Burke will return to the role: she last played Deloris brilliantly on tour in 2017.

The heaven-sent company also features Ruth Jones returning to the stage to play the Mother Superior, and the popular singer-songwriter Lemar – who recently appeared in Bridgerton prequel Queen Charlotte – joining the cast as Cartis.

Lesley Joseph reprises the role of Sister Mary Lazarus, as do Clive Rowe as Eddie and Lizzie Bea as Sister Mary Robert.

Sister Act characters

You’ll recognise most of the show’s vivid characters from the movie. They include:

Deloris Van Cartier: The aspiring singer who is forced to go on the run when she witnesses her gangster boyfriend committing murder. But she finds a surprising new act when she takes over the convent’s choir and turns them into a singing sensation.

Mother Superior: The no-nonsense head of the convent, who reluctantly allows Deloris to stay with them. Through the course of the show, she is torn between resenting any change to their routine and reluctantly realising that they need Deloris to secure their future.

Sister Mary Lazarus: The elderly, dry-witted nun who runs the choir before Deloris arrives. She’s initially suspicious of this interloper, but the choir’s resurrection allows her to let loose.

Curtis Jackson: Deloris’s boyfriend at the start of the show. He’s a wily gangster and nightclub owner who is prepared to kill anyone who threatens his survival.

Eddie Souther: The good cop who goes to great lengths to protect his key witness, Deloris, and who becomes romantically interested in her as well.

Sister Mary Robert: Initially shy and soft-spoken, this young nun is hugely inspired by Deloris, learning to raise her voice and to be brave – even coming to her friend’s aid when she’s in danger.

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Who is in the Sister Act creative team?

Sister Act has a score by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. Menken’s numerous projects include the Disney films The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, and the stage musicals Little Shop of Horrors and Newsies.

Slater worked with Menken on the theatrical version of The Little Mermaid, and collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on The Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies and School of Rock.

The book is written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, who worked on legendary TV sitcoms like Cheers, and additional material is by the Tony-winning playwright Douglas Carter Beane.

Directing this Sister Act London production is Bill Buckhurst, who scored a big hit with his pie and mash shop Sweeney Todd. The choreography is by Alistair David, whose numerous shows include Ghost The Musical on tour, Show Boat in the West End, and Me and My Girl at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The Sister Act set and costume design is by Morgan Large, whose previous West End productions include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Forbidden Broadway.

Which songs are in Sister Act?

Act I

"Take Me to Heaven (Nightclub)" – Deloris, Michelle, and Tina
"Fabulous, Baby!" – Deloris, Michelle, and Tina
"Here Within These Walls" – Mother Superior, and Deloris
"It's Good to Be a Nun" – Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, and Nuns
"When I Find My Baby" – Curtis, Joey, Pablo, and TJ
"I Could Be That Guy" – Eddie and Homeless People
"Raise Your Voice" – Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, and Nuns
"Take Me to Heaven" (Nun Choir Version) – Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, and Nuns

Act II

"Sunday Morning Fever" – Deloris, Mother Superior, Monsignor O'Hara, Eddie, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, Nuns, and Workers
"Lady in the Long Black Dress" – Joey, Pablo, and TJ
"Haven't Got a Prayer" – Mother Superior
"Bless Our Show" – Deloris, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, and Nuns
"The Life I Never Led" – Mary Robert
"Fabulous, Baby!" (Reprise) – Deloris, Eddie, Nuns, and Fantasy Dancers
"Sister Act" – Deloris
"When I Find My Baby" (Reprise) – Curtis
"The Life I Never Led" (Reprise) – Mary Robert
"Sister Act" (Reprise) – Deloris, Mother Superior, Mary Patrick, Mary Robert, Mary Lazarus, and Nuns
"Spread the Love Around" – The Company

Fun facts about Sister Act

• What’s occurring? Ruth Jones, best known for co-creating Gavin and Stacey and playing Nessa, has done theatre before, but she’s excited to make her West End debut in Sister Act.
• The awards-garlanded composer, Alan Menken, belongs to a very exclusive club. He’s one of only 19 people to have won the EGOT: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.
• Holy smokes! Lesley Joseph, who plays Sister Mary Lazarus, actually met Pope Francis while making a documentary in the Vatican.

How do I book tickets to Sister Act?

Don’t wait too long: this heavenly hit is bound to sell out quick! Book your tickets now to ensure you’re back in the habit with this amazing cast as they raise their voices at London’s Dominion Theatre.

Book Sister Act tickets on London Theatre.

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