Singer and actress Raven-Symone, formerly of "The Cosby Show," is headed to Broadway.
The former child star is slated to take over the lead role in the musical "Sister Act," her spokesperson told OnTheRedCarpet.com on Tuesday, January 31, confirming a report by Deadline.com, which said the 26-year-old will begin rehearsals at the end of February and start her run at the end of March for a minimum of six months.
The musical is based on the 1992 comedy film that stars Whoopi Goldberg. She plays Deloris Van Cartier, a lounge singer who witnesses a murder and is placed in a convent by police and disguised as a nun named "Sister Mary Clarence." She then inspires its choir to become a musical smash success.
Goldberg played head nun Mother Superior in the "Sister Act" musical in the summer of 2010 in London's West End. The character is reluctant to accept Van Cartier's unconventional ways. "Harry Potter" and "Downton Abbey" star Maggie Smith played Mother Superior in the movie, which spurred a 1993 sequel starring singer Lauryn Hill.
The musical was first performed in California in 2006 and opened on Broadway in April 2011. Symone will replace Patina Miller, who originated the role of Deloris Van Cartier on Broadway and in the West End production in London in 2009.
Alan Menken, who is behind the soundtracks of movies such as Disney's animated classics "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin," as well as the 1986 musical film "Little Shop of Horrors," wrote the songs for the musical.
Raven-Symone has never played the lead role in a Broadway production before. She made her Broadway debut at age 5, singing with the Boys Choir of Harlem at the organization's 25th anniversary celebration at the famous Apollo Theater, a venue where Michael Jackson made his own big stage debut with the Jackson 5 singing group.
She also began her music career at the same time. In 1993, when she was about 7, she released her debut album, the R&B record "Here's to New Dreams." Her fourth and latest album, "Raven-Symone," hit stores in 2008.
But the actress is perhaps best known for playing Bill Cosby's character's step-granddaughter Olivia on "The Cosby Show" between 1989 and 1992. She then played Nicole on the sitcom "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" until 1997. In 2003, Raven-Symone received her own Disney Channel comedy series "That's So Raven," which ran until 2007. There was once an episode in the series titled "Sister Act."
In 2011 she starred in the ABC Family sitcom "State of Georgia." Raven-Symone, who was born as Raven-Symone Pearman in Georgia, played a girl who moves from the South to New York City to pursue acting, was not picked up for a second season.