EMK to make international production of musical 'Sister Act'

Poster for the international production of the musical ″Sister Act″ [EMK]

Local musical production company EMK will be making the 2023-26's international production of the musical "Sister Act," according to the company's press release on Tuesday.

The show will be performed in English, with auditions being held in both Korea and New York City through May. The final show will tour around Asia, including stops in Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Japan and China.

It will be the first time for a Korean production company to be behind an international production of a musical. International productions for Asian tours of musicals have mostly been produced in Australia or North America.

EMK pointed to Busan, a southern port city in Korea, as the future musical hub of Asia.

"We strongly believe that Busan, a city that sees high demand for cultural activities and is the center of trade, can be the next cultural hub of Asia," said Kim Ji-won, vice president of EMK, in the press release. "By taking advantage of these regional characteristics, we plan to regard Busan as a key city to grow many of our shows and expand them to global productions."

EMK's international production of "Sister Act" will open in Busan's Sohyang Theater on Nov. 4 and will continue performances at D-cube Arts Center in Guro District, western Seoul, from Nov. 21. After a national tour of the show in a total of 13 cities through May 2024, EMK said that the production will go on the Asia tour from 2025 to 2026.

The musical "Sister Act" is based on the 1992 movie of the same title starring Whoopi Goldberg. She plays the title role of Deloris Van Cartier, a lounge singer who ends up hiding in a convent, disguising as one of the sisters, after witnessing a murder by her gangster boyfriend Vince LaRocca. Although she struggles to adapt to life in a convent, Deloris builds true friendships with the other sisters as she joins the church choir, helping the sisters break free from convention and bring out their musical souls.

Due largely to the comical storyline and powerful songs, the film stayed in the top 10 at the Box Office for 15 consecutive weeks.

With such success, Goldberg produced a musical version of the film with veteran director Jerry Zaks and renowned composer Alan Menken. The musical successfully premiered at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in 2006 and landed on Broadway in 2011.

Korea first saw the musical in 2017, when the show's Asia tour production came to Seoul for a two-week run. The show had especially garnered attention for the role of Mary Robert, one of the nuns at the covenant, because she was played by a Korean actor, Kim So-hyang. It was the first time an Asian actor was cast in the role.

EMK said that it will be auditioning Korean actors for its upcoming international production, which means that the show may see a second Korean actor.