Sister Act
A woman hiding in a convent helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she rediscovers her own.
Unavailable in large city-centre venues.
Show Essentials
16
Roles
+ Ensemble
PG
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

It is Christmas Eve in 1977 at a disco nightclub in Philadelphia. Club singer Deloris Van Cartier, and her two back-ups, are performing in front of an empty house. A gangster and four henchmen then appear. Van Cartier's boyfriend, Curtis Jackson, owns the nightclub ("Take Me To Heaven"). Deloris is overjoyed as she believes her boyfriend is going to introduce her to a record producer on that day. She soon learns, however, that this is not to be. Jackson tells her he cannot join her for Christmas Day but gives her a coat, which she discovers belonged to his wife. Hurt and frustrated, Deloris goes to her backup singers Michelle and Tina about her dreams of stardom and fame ("Fabulous, Baby!"). She decides to break up with Jackson and head out of Philadelphia to go fulfill her dreams on her own. When she happens to witness Jackson and his crew murder someone accused of 'squealing' to the cops, however, she becomes terrified. Deloris promptly runs away as Jackson orders his men to get her and bring her back.

Some time later, Deloris runs into a police station and tells the desk chief, Eddie, about what has happened. The two recognize each other as old friends from school with Deloris calling him Sweaty Eddie. Eddie decides that Deloris needs to go into the witness protection program and sends her to the place he believes Jackson will never find her…a convent. When Deloris arrives, she is disappointed as she learns from the Mother Superior that contact with the outside world is limited and that she cannot smoke, drink, or wear any of her less than appropriate clothing ("Here Within These Walls").

Deloris joins the other nuns for dinner, is introduced as Sister Mary Clarence, and after several comedic interactions with the overly perky Sister Mary Patrick, Deloris discovers just how much is limited when she is a nun ("It's Good To Be A Nun"). Deloris then asks them about what they're missing, and Mother Superior makes Deloris go on a fast. Meanwhile back in his nightclub, Jackson is frustrated that he cannot find Deloris anywhere. He tells Joey, TJ, and Pablo how he will not stop until he finds and kills Deloris ("When I Find My Baby").

Back at the convent, Deloris is hungry from the fast. She goes across the street to a slinky bar and is followed by Sister Mary Patrick and Sister Mary Robert, a shy and quiet nun. When the two nuns arrive they see how fun things can be outside of the convent. However, Deloris recognizes Joey, TJ, and Pablo entering the bar. Suddenly there is a fight in the bar, giving Deloris, Sister Mary Patrick, and Sister Mary Robert a chance to escape. Eddie and Mother Superior meet them back at the convent. Mother Superior confronts Deloris, telling her that she must conform to the life of the nuns. Eddie agrees and reveals that Jackson has upped the price on her head, so she needs to be careful. Deloris storms back to the convent after being informed that she has to wake up at 5 a.m. and join the choir. Eddie, now alone with only the drunks and homeless on the street, privately reflects on his desire to just let go and impress Deloris ("I Could Be That Guy").

The following morning, Deloris attends the choir practice and realizes how bad the situation is. Deloris offers to teach them thus taking over from Sister Mary Lazarus, an older nun. Deloris teaches the nuns how to sing in key and on time. She also manages to break the quiet and timid Sister Mary Robert out of her shell ("Raise Your Voice"). That Sunday, the choir performs a rousing up-tempo hymn ("Take Me To Heaven [Reprise]"). Although the church is struggling, the improved performance and new material bring an influx of donations and membership. Mother Superior, however, is horrified how the simple traditional choir she knew has changed and become modern.

Act Two

Mother Superior wants to get rid of Deloris, but Monsignor O'Hara reminds her that the men who were planning to buy the church love the choir and have given their money to improve and keep the church because of the choir. Over the last few weeks, the choir has become incredibly successful and the money from donations has paid for the church to be remodeled and fixed ("Sunday Morning Fever").

Later, Monsignor O'Hara bursts in with exciting news: the choir has been asked to perform a special concert in front of the Pope. Deloris is thrilled but also regretful; Jackson and his goons have spotted Deloris with the choir on the television accepting the invitation. Jackson orders his henchmen to get into the convent and bring Deloris back. TJ, Joey, and Pablo discuss how they will do this ("Lady In The Long Black Dress"). Meanwhile, Mother Superior prays to God and asks why He has given her the challenge that is named Deloris ("I Haven't Got A Prayer"). She soon receives a call from Eddie.

Deloris is approached by the Nuns before they go to sleep, asking her to lead them praying for their show for the Pope, which is the following day ("Bless The Show"). Mother Superior arrives shortly thereafter and informs Deloris that the court date for Jackson has moved up to the next day and she must leave immediately. The other nuns overhear and Deloris is forced to tell them the truth about who she really is and that she cannot perform with them. Deloris quickly runs off to get her things followed by Sister Mary Robert while the other nuns disappointingly go back to their rooms.

As Deloris prepares to leave, Sister Mary Robert begs to come with her claiming that she has been inspired to become a stronger person and go after the things she wants ("The Life I Never Led"). Deloris tells her that she doesn't need her to do that, and that she can do it all herself if she really wants to. Deloris runs from the convent and stays at Eddie's house for the night. While there she initially is overjoyed that the following day she will testify against Jackson and his boys to go back to pursuing the career she's dreamed of ("Fabulous, Baby! [Reprise]"). Feeling immense guilt for abandoning her sisters when they needed her, however, she begins to reflect on her life and finally realizes that the choices she is making will leave her with nothing but fame and money. She decides to return to the convent and sing with her sisters ("Sister Act").

Elsewhere, Jackson thinks up a new way to get into the convent ("When I Find My Baby [Reprise]"). Dressed as nuns, Jackson, Joey, TJ, and Pablo sneak into the convent. They find and chase Deloris. The Nuns see that, and they all prepare to protect Deloris. Mother Superior, however, is adamant that they stay away and call the police, which prompts an outburst from Sister Mary Robert who tells her that she won't be quiet anymore ("The Life I Never Led [Reprise]"). The other nuns agree and all go running through the convent looking for Deloris.

Deloris eventually runs into Jackson, leading to a final confrontation. He is armed and dangerous, and she is scared but calm. Jackson demands that Deloris to get on her knees and beg for her life. However, all the sisters and nuns run in unafraid; they stand in front of her telling Jackson that they will have to go through them first ("Sister Act [Reprise]"). Jackson is about to start firing at the nuns when Eddie comes in and fights Jackson off. He arrests Jackson and his boys. He and Deloris then share a passionate embrace. Mother Superior and Deloris come to a truce and agree to accept each other -- warts and all. As the curtain begins to fall, we transition to the performance in front of the Pope as the nuns stand in unison with their voices ringing in harmony, led by a changed Deloris Van Cartier ("Spread The Love Around").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Deloris Van Cartier
An aspiring performer, trying to find both fame and a place in the world. When forced to hide in the convent, she initially refuses to embrace her new lifestyle but learns to embrace it when she works with the choir. Loud-mouthed, and sassy, but ultimately caring.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: F#5
Vocal range bottom: E3
Mother Superior
The head of the convent, sarcastic and a bit stiff. Extremely protective about keeping her sisters away from the outside world, which puts her in direct opposition to Deloris and her musical teachings.
Gender: female
Age: 50 to 70
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: D3
Sister Mary Robert
A postulant, abandoned as a baby and raised at the convent. Shy and soft-spoken, but singing with Deloris lets her find her voice. Her wallflower lifestyle has made her live a shell of a life.
Gender: female
Age: 16 to 25
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: F#3
Sister Mary Patrick
A nun of the convent. Consistently perky, enthusiastic, and easily excitable.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 50
Sister Mary Lazarus
A nun of the convent and the head of the choir. Rather deadpan and the least welcoming of any of the nuns, but she gets caught up in Deloris's soul music.
Gender: female
Age: 50 to 70
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: F3
Monsignor O'hara
One of the heads of the convent. Constantly concerned with financial matters, though soul music surprisingly puts him in a different mood.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 60
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: E3
Curtis
A club owner, notorious gangster, and Deloris's boyfriend. Cocky and controlling, always on the verge of violence.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: Ab4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Eddie Souther
The desk chief at the Philadelphia police station and a high school classmate of Deloris who helps get her into hiding. Faces a lot of nerves when under pressure, causing him to sweat profusely. He still yearns for Deloris after all these years, and dreams of being her hero.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: Ab2
Tj
Curtis's nephew and one of his thugs. Deft and cognizant of the fact, constantly in a state of ignorant bliss.
Gender: male
Age: 16 to 30
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: Db3
Joey
One of Curtis's thugs. Believes himself to be quite the ladies' man.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: Bb2
Pablo
One of Curtis's thugs. A natural follower, constantly speaks in Spanish.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 40
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: C4
Sister Mary Martin-of-tours
A nun of the convent. Clearly in her own world, but has her moments of surprising clarity.
Gender: female
Age: 40 to 60
Sister Mary Theresa
A nun of the convent, the oldest of the group. Decrepit at a glance, but secretly packs a punch.
Gender: female
Age: 60 to 70
Michelle
One of Deloris's back-up singers. Lippy and always quick with a retort.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: Bb3
Tina
One of Deloris's back-up singers. A little thick and naive.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3
Ernie
One of Curtis's thugs. Initially thought to be a mindless yes-man, he turns out to be an undercover police informant.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Ensemble
Nuns; Bar Denizens (Bar Patron, Waitress, Pool Player, Drag Queen); Homeless People; Fantasy Dancers
Full Song List
Sister Act: Take Me To Heaven (Nightclub)
Sister Act: Fabulous, Baby!
Sister Act: The Perfect Place
Sister Act: Here Within These Walls
Sister Act: It's Good to be a Nun
Sister Act: When I Find My Baby
Sister Act: I Could Be That Guy
Sister Act: Here Within These Walls (Reprise)
Sister Act: Raise Your Voice
Sister Act: Take Me To Heaven (Nun Choir Version)
Sister Act: Sunday Morning Fever
Sister Act: Take Me To Heaven (Newscast)
Sister Act: Lady in the Long Black Dress
Sister Act: I Haven't Got a Prayer
Sister Act: Bless Our Show
Sister Act: Benedicta-ta for Now
Sister Act: The Life I Never Led
Sister Act: Fabulous Baby! (Reprise)
Sister Act: Sister Act
Sister Act: When I Find My Baby (Reprise)
Sister Act: The Life I Never Led (Reprise)
Sister Act: Sister Act (Reprise)
Sister Act: Spread the Love Around

Show History

Inspiration

Sister Act is based on the hit 1992 comedy film of the same name, originally starring Whoopi Goldberg. With a movie so popular and musically focused, Stage Entertainment decided to produce a stage adaptation. They brought on Oscar and Tony-winning composer Alan Menken, along with lyricist and frequent collaborator Glenn Slater. Bill and Cheri Steinkellner were hired to write the book.

Menken wanted to inspire his score off of 1970s music, specifically disco and gospel. As a result, the setting was changed from Reno and San Francisco in the 90s (the original setting of the movie) to Philadelphia in the 70s. In the transfer from the West End to Broadway, not only did Whoopi Godlberg herself jump on as as a producer, but the script underwent several revisions. Douglas Carter Beane kept the structure of the show and made several large changes.

Productions

Sister Act, based on the hit film of the same name, premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse in California running from October 24 to December 23, 2006. While in residence, it broke various box office records. The production ended up moving to the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia and ran from January 17 to February 25, 2007. The musical then moved across the pond. The West End premiere was on June 2, 2009 at the London Palladium, starring Patina Miller, Sheila Hancock, and Ian Lavender. It ran for more than a year and closed on October 30, 2010.

Sister Act opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre on April 20, 2011. After the West End production closed, the show went through a multitude of revisions, helmed by book writer Douglas Carter Beane. Patina Miller transferred with the production in the role of Deloris, costarring with Victoria Clark, Fred Applegate, and Chester Gregory. It closed on August 26, 2012 after 561 performances.

The musical has launched two tours: one in the UK and Ireland that ran from October 2010 to October 2012, and one in North America that opened during the fall of 2012. Sister Act has also been performed in quite a few countries around the world, including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, and Mexico.

Critical Reaction

"One of the season s happiest surprises [& ] Menken evokes the lush, funky sound of Philly soul without falling into mere pastiche." -The NY Post

"Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater provide original tunes that nod cheekily, but with genuine affection, to that pop era while also propelling the story with a style and exuberance specific to well-crafted musical theater.  Librettists Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, enlisting additional material from Douglas Carter Beane, adapt the screenplay with disarming wryness." -USA Today

"When the wimples start quivering, the pinched mouths break into sunbeam smiles, and the nuns start rocking to raise the Gothic rafters, all s right in the kingdom of musical comedy." -The New York Times

Drama Desk Award

2011 - Outstanding Music, Nominee (Alan Menken)
2011 - Outstanding Lyrics, Nominee (Glenn Slater)
2011 - Outstanding Musical, Nominee (Sister Act)
2011 - Outstanding Actress in a Muscial, Nominee (Patina Miller)
2011 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Victoria Clark)

Tony® Award

2011 - Best Musical, Nominee (Sister Act)
2011 - Best Book Of A Musical, Nominee (Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner, and Douglas Carter Beane)
2011 - Best Original Score, Nominee (Alan Menken and Glenn Slater)
2011 - Best Performance By A Leading Actress In A Musical, Nominee (Patina Miller)
2011 - Best Performance By A Featured Actress In A Musical, Nominee (Victoria Clark)

Connect

Billing

Based on the Touchstone Pictures Motion Picture, Sister Act, written by Joseph Howard.

Requirements

Under the terms and conditions of your organisation’s Performance Agreement, the following credits must appear on all advertising (including websites) relating to the production. Credits must be reproduced faithfully in accordance with the following layout. No alterations or deletions can be permitted unless stated below.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.

You agree to bill the Play and the Authors in all programs, houseboards, displays and in all advertising and all paid publicity, in the following manner:

 

SISTER ACT 100%

 

Music by
ALAN MENKEN 50%
Lyrics by
GLENN SLATER 50%
 
Book by
CHERI STEINKELLNER
& BILL STEINKELLNER 50%

 

Additional Book Material
DOUGLAS CARTER BEANE 37.5%

 

(ii) MTI agrees to contractually require its licensees to provide clear and prominent credit on any and all playbills for licensee productions of the Play substantially as follows:

 

You agree to provide the following credit on (i) the title page of the program in a size of type equal to 50% of the size of the Authors' credit, (ii) all houseboards and (iii) all advertising in which any individual other than stars above the title except ABCs and awards and congratulatory ads (such credit to be placed immediately following the credits for book, music and lyrics of the Play):

 

Based on the Touchstone Pictures Motion Picture "Sister Act" written by Joseph Howard

 

You agree to provide the following credits on the title page of the program for your production of the Play (with respect to the credit to Pasadena Playhouse and Alliance Theatre, such credit shall appear at the bottom of the title page for all first- and second-class productions of the Play in the United States, Canada, British Isles, Australia and New Zealand)

 

Orchestrations by Doug Besterman
 
Vocal and Incidental Music Arrangements by Michael Kosarin
 
Produced on Broadway by Whoopi Goldberg & Stage Entertainment in association with The Shubert Organization and Disney Theatrical Productions
 
Originally Production Developed in Association with Peter Schneider & Michael Reno and Produced by Stage Entertainment
 
World Premiere Produced by
Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena CA and Alliance Theatre, Atlanta GA
Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director        Susan V. Booth, Artistic Director
Lyla White, Executive Director         Tom Pechar, Managing Director
Tom Ware, Producing Director

 

In addition, the approved biographies of the Authors must appear in all programs of the Play.  You can find them at MTISHOWS.COM/authorbios.

 

In advertisements of 1/4 page size or less, where in each case only the title of the play, performance dates and venue are provided and in taxi ads where no other person is billed, the following “shortened billing” is permissible:

 

SISTER ACT
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
KEYBOARD-CONDUCTOR ACT 11
KEYBOARD-CONDUCTOR ACT 21
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK30
PIANO VOCAL SCORE1

Production Resources

Resource
ALT: FULL SCORE VOL 1 OF 4
ALT: FULL SCORE VOL 2 OF 4
ALT: FULL SCORE VOL 3 OF 4
ALT: FULL SCORE VOL 4 OF 4
CUSTOMIZABLE SHOW POSTERS
FULL SCORE VOL. 1 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 2 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 3 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 4 OF 4
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
LOGO PACK
ORCHEXTRA
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
PRODUCTIONPRO
REFERENCE RECORDING
REHEARSCORE+ DIGITAL
SCENIC PROJECTIONS-ANIMATED
STAGE MANAGER SCRIPT
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSACOUSTIC BASS , ELECTRIC BASS
DRUMSDRUM KIT , MARK TREE , SHAKER , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TD-20 , TRIANGLE
GUITARACOUSTIC GUITAR , ELECTRIC GUITAR , NYLON STRING GUITAR , STEEL STRG ACOUSTIC
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
PERCUSSIONBELL TREE , BIGGER SHAKER , BONGOS , CHIMES , CLAPS , CONGAS , COWBELL (FOOT) , CROTALE , GLOCKENSPIEL , HIGH COWBELL , KAT , LOW COWBELL , MARK TREE , SHAKER , SMALL COWBELL , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TIMPANI , TRIANGLE , WOODBLOCK (FOOT) , XYLOPHONE
REED 1ALTO FLUTE , ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE
REED 2CLARINET , FLUTE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
TROMBONE
TRUMPETFLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
TRUMPET 2FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET

ALTERNATE ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
ALT: BASS ACOUSTIC BASS , ELECTRIC BASS
ALT: CELLO
ALT: DRUMS DRUM KIT , MARK TREE , SHAKER , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TD-20 , TRIANGLE
ALT: GUITAR ACOUSTIC GUITAR , ELECTRIC GUITAR , NYLON STRING GUITAR , STEEL STRG ACOUSTIC
ALT: KEYBOARD 1
ALT: KEYBOARD 2
ALT: PERCUSSION BELL TREE , BIGGER SHAKER , BONGOS , CHIMES , CLAPS , CONGAS , COWBELL , COWBELL (FOOT) , CROTALE , GLOCKENSPIEL , KAT , MARK TREE , SHAKER , SMALL COWBELL , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TIMPANI , TRIANGLE , WOODBLOCK (FOOT) , XYLOPHONE
ALT: PIANO VOCAL SCORE
ALT: REED 1 ALTO FLUTE , ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE
ALT: REED 2 CLARINET , FLUTE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
ALT: REED 3 BARITONE SAXOPHONE , BASS CLARINET , BASSOON , CLARINET
ALT: TROMBONE 1
ALT: TROMBONE 2
ALT: TRUMPET 1 FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
ALT: TRUMPET 2 FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
ALT: VIOLIN 1
ALT: VIOLIN 2