Taking on the role of Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act, and stepping into the iconic shoes of Whoopi Goldberg herself, is a massive deal for any musical theatre professional.

But for an amateur it’s a big ask surely?

And yet Katie Bedborough is champing at the bit to give the part her all on the Playhouse stage next week, as Oxford’s award-winning society, OXOPS returns with this famous feel-good musical.

Based on the 1992 mega-hit film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the musical version has a powerful gospel and disco-inspired score by 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken.

“I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off my face,” she agrees.

“I’ve seen the show so many times in London and on tour because it is my absolute favourite!

“I remember very clearly saying to my parents ‘Deloris is it... that is my dream role... I really hope they release it for non-professionals’.”

And now that they have, Katie is ready and waiting to give her all to those complex gospel numbers. So is she nervous? “Well, there isn’t a bad song in the show. When you have Alan Menken - who wrote scores for The little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin & Pocahontas, to name a few; and Glenn Slater (Little Mermaid, School of Rock) writing the score and lyrics - you know you are in for a treat!

“So for me, it’s a funny, uplifting and heartfelt show.”

Director Dave Crewe agrees: “It will be a great night out, and a fantastic way to blow away the January blues. We guarantee you’ll go home with a smile on your face, and a song in your head,” he says.

“OXOPS production is filled with high energy dancers and strong performances from some of Oxford’s best non-professional performers.

For those who didn’t see the award-winning film or West End show which came to the New Theatre recently, the plot is based around aspiring singer Deloris Van Cartier who witnesses a murder by her boyfriend. She is taken into a Witness Protection Programme and hidden in the least-likely place she’d ever be found – a convent. While there, Deloris breathes new life into the nuns’ choir turning them into gospel superstars and learns there’s more to life than fame and fortune.

So what made Dave Crewe want to direct Sister Act? “It’s obviously a massive amount of fun but it also has a really moving story of friendship and of finding yourself at the heart of it. So it’s a brilliant show for an amateur group, with loads of big company numbers, which are really spectacular with a company of nearly 50.

Or as Katie puts it: “It’s a brilliant, feel good, family friendly show packed with fabulous music, choreography and humour.

“It is impossible to leave the show without a massive smile on your face, which means that I am (probably bordering on irritatingly) happy about getting the part.”

I still get a little choked when I sing the reprise of the title song Sister Act – though. It is such a poignant moment in the show; where Delorise realises just how much that sisterhood means to her.

“I know how she feels.”

Sister Act - The Musical

Oxford Playhouse

January 21-26


01865 305305