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Whoopi Goldberg joins the cast of Sister Act

Whoopi Goldberg is to make her West End debut in the stage musical Sister Act.

The Hollywood actress will replace Sheila Hancock, who has played the Mother Superior role since the show opened in May last year.

In the original 1992 film, Goldberg played the younger role of a singer who seeks refuge in a convent after witnessing a Mafia murder. She is a co-producer of the £7m (€8m) musical and will join the cast on August 10 for a limited run.

The London Palladium show closes at the end of October to make way for Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of The Wizard of Oz.

Bill Taylor, the show's producer, said: "The Sister Act journey has been an incredible one so far, and Whoopi's input from the development stage onwards has been invaluable. Now, back in her habit and on stage with our company at the beautiful Palladium, theatregoers get to see a comedy legend at work.

"To say we are excited might be something of an understatement. This is also a chance to say goodbye to the indomitable, multi-talented and unspeakably wonderful Sheila Hancock, who has been a mother figure both on and off stage."

There are plans to take Sister Act to Broadway in 2011.

When the show first opened in London, Goldberg laughed off the suggestion that she could appear in it. "Are you nuts? I can't do eight shows a week of anything. And it's written for people who can actually sing," she said. Happily, the Mother Superior role only calls for one musical solo.

Goldberg, a star of US television show The View, overcame her fear of flying last year to attend the Sister Act opening night after a decade of shunning plane travel.

© Telegraph.co.uk