After huge success in the Whitney Houston role in The Bodyguard, X Factor winner Alexandra Burke switches into comedy mode for her latest big musical adventure.
Sister Act, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, will at The Brighton Centre from Wednesday to Saturday, January 11-14 as part of the show’s UK tour.
It’s a big move for Alexandra, who piled up fabulous reviews for her performances as Rachel Marron in the national tour of The Bodyguard, a part she also played in the West End. There she was a singer very much under threat and finding love in a tale which was pretty serious business.
With Sister Act, the mood now changes completely.
Based on the hit movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith, the show tells the hilarious story of Deloris Van Cartier (Burke), a disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder. Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a convent. Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.
“It’s great,” says Alexandra. “But I said no to the show about five times. I didn’t think it would be suited for me. I have only ever done The Bodyguard. I am new to musical theatre. But you don’t know what your strength is until you try. Coming from the music industry, I never thought I would make the transition to musical theatre.”
As for the transition to Sister Act, it will be the quickest of turn-arounds: just five days in between. The sheer quality of the show will help.
“We have got great music written by Alan Menken, and we have got a wonderful script.”
Alexandra has already identified that all-out integrity will be key to her approach: “I think overall it is really important to make sure that the acting is 100 per cent. You have got to be sincere. You can’t try to be somebody else.” There’s just no point thinking about Whoopi Goldberg – just as you had to be careful of memories of Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard: “And with the music, I just want to be 150 per cent into the track.
“I would say that The Bodyguard was a very difficult song. It is very challenging to be singing Whitney Houston six times a week. Even if you are a fan just singing in the shower, it would be difficult. On stage, it is enormously more so. You have really got to make sure that you are respectful. You want to make sure of that. But you can be yourself in the role. The main thing is that you have got to take the role and give it everything you have got. But you have got to respect that The Bodyguard is Whitney Houston’s music and be respectful to the fans, and of course, I am a massive fan myself. But Sister Act will be a lot more fun because you have got that comedy aspect. But it takes many people to make a show work. It’s very, very exciting. We have got a great team to make it work. These are back-to-back roles. They are both iconic films. I am really enjoying it.”
Alexandra rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor. Her debut single Hallelujah sold more than a million copies in the UK, a first for a British female soloist. Her first album Overcome saw the release of her number-one singles Bad Boys and Start Without You: “I have been really, really lucky in the eight years (since The X Factor). But I just love working. I have always had a really strong work ethic.”
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