Sister Act | Grand Canal Theatre
Interview by: Caomhan Keane
When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won't be found - a convent! Disguised as a nun she quickly finds fans amongst her fellow 'sisters' but makes the wrong impression on the convent's strict Mother Superior. When she turns her attention to the convent's off-key choir, helping the nuns to find their true voices and breathing new life into the rundown neighbourhood, her cover could be blown for good. With the gang giving chase, is time running out for Deloris? Or have they underestimated the power of her new found Sisterhood?
With a score by Alan Menken, eight-time Oscar winner who wrote many of the world famous songs from Disney's movies, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast and Aladdin, and a script from the scriptwriters of Cheers, the heavenly sequined sister's descend on the Grand Canal Theatre this Christmas for three weeks only, from December 20th 2011 to January 7th 2012.
Cynthia Erivo, faced with daunting task of filling Whoopi Goldbergs robes, talks here to Caomhan Keane.
Sister Act is an iconic movie. Were you a fan before getting cast?
Yeah, I was. I'd seen it a number of times and it was a bit ridiculous how much I knew about it before I was in it. So yeah. I was a big, big fan of the movie.
What is the biggest challenge for you to play a role that is so engrained into the memories of other people with another actress in that role?
It is a challenge, but I like the challenge of reforming something in my own way and making it mine. Every role I do is different anyway. I approach each part as if I had never done anything like it before.
Have you encountered any manic fans?
Oh yeah. I've met plenty. One woman has seen the show about 16 times. She saw it four times in Edinburgh with me in it. People who saw it four or five times in London will then travel to different parts of the country to see it a few more times.
What major differences have been made to the story of Sister Act as it makes its transition from screen to stage?
One of the major differences is the time frame. It's set in the 70s while the film is set in the 90s. The music is completely different to the film. It's much more like a traditional musical. It's still electric and addictive as it was in the film. Primarily though, the story and heart is very much the same.
What did the casting process involve?
I had done a show that someone from the casting office had seen me do. So they asked me to come in and sing for them. So I came in and sang. They then gave me music from the show to sing, so I did that. Then they called me back again and I did a dance call and an acting call and another singing call, for production and director. At one point I was filmed and I believe the video they had taken of me was sent over to Whoopi to have a look at and that's how the choice was made.
I know this might be an awkward question for you, given that you are currently starring in one, but what is your take on musicals that started in another form? That were once movies or are comprised of songs by pop artists?
I think every musical has a place. There is something positive about getting a group of songs together that people can sing along to. There is not a chance in hell that you are not going to have a good time. My main thing is that there is a good story line and that is why I love Sister Act. Music drives the story and people already know the music and sing along to it. There is heart and a truth and that is my main thing and that's why I love it.
What character is the most like their actress? Most unlike?
Laurie Scrath is quite like Mary Patrick in that she is genuinely a joyful person. And size has nothing to do with it as actually Laurie is about half the size of the character she is playing. It is really incredible; they have her in a fat suit. She is tiny. She is really joyful as a person, always smiling, always happy. She brings light to the company. She is wonderful. Wonderful!
I'd say Denise Black, who plays the Mother Superior is the most unlike her character. She is not staunch, she is very liberal, very loud. Really cool. She has an amazing laugh and is not as hard and rigid as Mother Superior appears to be.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Friday 18th November 2011 | Theatre
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