Producers Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment have announced full details and casting for the first ever UK & Ireland tour of the hit musical comedy SISTER ACT, which will open at the Manchester Opera House on Thursday 29 September with a Gala night for Press on Tuesday 4 October.
The show, which played to over a million people at the London Palladium during its West End run and is currently a huge hit on Broadway, will star Coronation Street's Denise Black as Mother Superior, and Brookside and The Royal favourite Michael Starke as Monsignor O'Hara, with rising new star Cynthia Erivo as nun on the run Deloris Van Cartier.
Whoopi Goldberg said: "We were thrilled to open Sister Act in London but I'm even more excited to have the show tour the UK so even more folks experience those singing nuns. It's a great show for everyone...your kids, your granny, even the neighbour next door who you might not like so much! I promise, you'll have a great night in the theatre. Look out Great Britain and Ireland - the Sisters are coming!"
Denise Black is probably best known as siren hairdresser Denise Osbourne in Coronation Street. Other television credits include Denny's mad, bad mum in Bad Girls, Hazel, the mum all gay men wanted in Queer as Folk, as well as Robin Hood, Doc Martin, Small Island, Sensitive Skin, Dalziel and Pascoe, New Tricks, No Angels, Midsomer Murders, A Touch of Frost, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Vice. On stage she has worked at every major producing theatre in the UK in work as diverse as Chekhov, Wesker and Albee to Akcybourn, Shaw and Lorca. She recently toured the country in Grumpy Old Women Live! and won the Manchester Evening News Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Roots at the Royal Exchange. Denise is also the lead singer of the folk-rock band The Loose Screw who gig extensively around the UK and recently sold out a week-long engagement at Pizza on the Park.
Liverpool born actor Michael Starke is best known for his role as Thomas "Sinbad" Sweeney in popular soap Brookside, which he played for 16 years. He was also a series regular playing Kenneth Hopkirk in Sunday night ITV1 drama The Royal. In 2007 he joined the cast of ITV1's Coronation Street as kebab shop owner Jerry Morton. Previous stage credits include The Play What I Wrote, Anything Goes, The Rocky Horror Show, Hamlet, numerous pantomime appearances, and most recently the UK tour of Hairspray as Edna Turnblad.
The cast also includes Julie Atherton as Sister Mary Robert, Edward Baruwa as Eddie Souther, Cavin Cornwall as Curtis Jackson, Gavin Alex as Pablo, Jacqueline Clarke as Sister Mary Lazarus, Tyrone Huntley as TJ and Laurie Scarth as Sister Mary Patrick.
When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won't be found - a convent! Disguised as a nun she quickly finds fans amongst her fellow ‘sisters' but makes the wrong impression on the convent's strict Mother Superior. When she turns her attention to the convent's off-key choir, helping the nuns to find their true voices and breathing new life into the rundown neighbourhood, her cover could be blown for good. With the gang giving chase, is time running out for Deloris? Or have they underestimated the power of her new found Sisterhood?
SISTER ACT features a score by Alan Menken, eight-time Oscar winner and the genius behind many of the world famous songs from Disney's movies, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin and Enchanted, with lyrics from his long time collaborator, Glenn Slater. The book is by the award-winning team, Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, whose writing credits include the classic television comedy Cheers, with additional book material from Douglas Carter Beane.
SISTER ACT opened at the London Palladium in May 2009 to huge critical and audience acclaim. It went on to receive four Laurence Olivier Award nominations and its cast album shot to Number One on the iTunes soundtrack chart. During the London Palladium run the show broke Box Office records for the highest grossing single performance and highest grossing week for any musical ever at that venue. The New York production opened at the Broadway Theatre in April this year and was nominated for five Tony Awards at this year's ceremony, as well as receiving multiple nominations from every other major US theatre awards body this season. A record breaking production is also running in Hamburg and future productions will open in Italy, Austria, Spain, France, Holland, South Korea, Japan and Brazil soon.