Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg made her West End debut in Sister Act at the London Palladium last night (10 August 2010). She took over from Sheila Hancock as the Mother Superior for a strictly limited season of 23 performances only, until 31 August 2010.

In the film and its sequel, Goldberg played the lead of Deloris van Cartier (opposite Maggie Smith as the Mother Superior), the lounge singer put in protective custody in a convent after witnessing a murder. That part is taken on stage by Patina Miller, who won this year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance.

Best known for her films such as The Color Purple, Ghost, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Soapdish in addition to Sister Act, Goldberg’s stage credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Xanadu on Broadway.

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Also in the current cast are former Blue pop star Simon Webbe as Curtis Shanks and Ian Lavender as the Monsignor, as well as Ako Mitchell, Katie Rowley Jones, Claire Greenway, Jacqueline Clarke, Nicholas Colicos, Thomas Goodridge and Ivan De Freitas.

Sister Act opened at the Palladium on 2 June 2009 (previews from 7 May) and must close on 30 October 2010 to make way for next year’s reality TV-cast production of The Wizard of Oz. Producers announced in May that they’re looking for a new West End home for Sister Act – while also preparing for a Broadway opening in spring 2011, a UK tour in autumn 2011 and various international productions – but no new London address has yet been announced.