Whoopi Goldberg has pulled out of the London stage version of her musical Sister Act, after its opening was postponed from this summer.
Because of Covid restrictions, it will now run from 19 July to 28 August 2022, at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.
Goldberg had been due to star as singer Deloris van Cartier, who hides in a convent, disguised as a nun, after witnessing a murder.
She said: “Sister Act is near and dear to my heart. And I’m disappointed.”
Goldberg said: “My producing partners and I will continue to work towards mounting a fantastic production, with an amazing new cast.
“And we look forward to presenting it when it can be done safely for everyone onstage, behind the scenes and in the audience.”
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— SISTER ACT THE MUSICAL (@sisteractsocial) February 16, 2021
Jennifer Saunders was lined up to play the convent’s mother superior, whom Goldberg briefly played in the original London production – which opened, at the Palladium, in 2009 – before cancelling her final scheduled appearances for family reasons.
Goldberg made five subsequent appearances, in October 2010, the week prior to the show’s closure.
This summer’s reopening would have been the first time she had revisited her role from hit films Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit.
Co-producer Jamie Wilson said: “This new version of Sister Act The Musical has been in development for several years now.
“And both Whoopi and I are committed to launching this celebratory, joyous and life-affirming production with audiences in the UK.”
London ticket holders will be contacted directly and moved to the corresponding new dates.
About Sister Act
The musical’s plot closely follows that of the 1992 film, one of the most successful of the early 1990s, making $232m (£180m) worldwide.
But with the musical numbers from the film not used because of copyright issues, it features songs from award-winning composer Alan Menken, known for his scores to Disney films such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.
The production, originally staged in California in 2006, has run on Broadway and been performed by touring companies around the world.
As she initially struggles with life at the convent, under the guise of Sister Mary Clarence, Mother Superior sets Deloris the task of working with the choir – leading her to find her own voice as well as helping her friends find theirs.
In 1993’s Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Deloris, now a famous Las Vegas performer, has to return to her Sister Mary Clarence persona.