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Goldberg Departs Sister Act Due to Family Illness

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Whoopi Goldberg has cut short her West End debut stint in Sister Act at the London Palladium. Goldberg was due to play the Mother Superior, taking over from Sheila Hancock for 23 performances from 10 to 31 August 2010, but she has flown back to the US today (27 August 2010) to be with her family after her mother suffered a severe stroke.

Goldberg made her final appearance last night (26 August), and will now miss the next six scheduled performances. During that time, the role will be covered by her understudies – Helen Walsh (at both Saturday shows) and Verity Quade (all others) - until next Thursday 2 September when, as previously announced, Sally Dexter takes over for the remainder of the run to 30 October at the Palladium.

A statement released today by producers at Stage Entertainment said: “Ms Goldberg is very sorry not to be able to perform as planned, and the thoughts and sincere best wishes of the Producers and the entire Sister Act company are with her at this difficult time. Patrons who have booked to see Whoopi Goldberg who do not wish to attend the scheduled performance should refer back to their original point of sale.”

Sister Act stars Patina Miller, who won this year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Deloris van Cartier, the lounge singer put in protective custody in a convent after witnessing a murder – the part played in the original 1992 film by Goldberg.

The current cast also features: 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. The screen-to-stage adaptation has a score by Alan Menken and a book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner.

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.


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