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'Sister Act' to go to Broadway theatrical heaven

Wednesday - 6/20/2012, 5:03pm  ET

By MARK KENNEDY
AP Drama Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - God is having a tough month on Broadway _ "Godspell" is closing, "Jesus Christ Superstar" is on life support and now comes word that "Sister Act" is going to theatrical heaven.

Producers said Wednesday that the musical based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg will play its final performance on Aug. 26, a 16-month run that included more than 561 performances.

"Sister Act" opened on Broadway in April 2011 after a stint in London and was nominated for a best musical Tony last year. It has original tunes by songwriter Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater.

The musical's plot is faithful to the movie: A nightclub singer accidentally witnesses a murder by her crime boss lover and flees to a convent to hide. The stuffy nuns come alive as she teaches them rhythm while she learns the value of sisterhood and self-sacrifice.

Former "The Cosby Show" star Raven-Symone is currently appearing as the nightclub-singer-turned-nun Deloris Van Cartier, having taken over the part from Patina Miller, who earned a Tony Award nomination.

The show took in $665,744 over its eight performances last week _ less than half of its $1.5 million potential. The 1,755-seat Broadway Theatre, where the show plays, was about 66 percent full.

Fans still hoping to see the show can rejoice: A North American tour kicks off Oct. 2 in Toronto. It also has three other productions playing in Hamburg, Vienna and on tour throughout the United Kingdom.

There are upcoming productions scheduled to begin in Paris in September, in Stuttgart in December, and in Scheveningen, Holland, in March. Plans also are in the works for "Sister Act" productions in Moscow, Madrid, Prague, Sao Paolo, South Korea and Japan.

After a flurry of religious-themed shows appeared on Broadway, crowds are apparently turning their backs, unconverted. "Leap of Faith," another Menken show about a crooked preacher, closed last month after just 20 regular performances.

Producers of the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Jesus Christ Superstar" have warned that the show will close on July 1 unless business improves. And the revival of "Godspell" will close on Sunday after more than 200 regular performances. One divine show definitely not struggling is "The Book of Mormon."

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Online: http:// www.sisteractthemusical.com

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Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)