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Sister Act - Broadway

Raven-Symoné stars in this divine musical comedy based on the popular film!

Sister Act’s Marla Mindelle on Going Mousy and Maybe, Just Maybe, Meeting Patti LuPone

Sister Act’s Marla Mindelle on Going Mousy and Maybe, Just Maybe, Meeting Patti LuPone
Marla Mindelle photographed by Jenny Anderson for at St. Malachy's Church
'I came out of the womb doing triple time steps.'

Age, hometown: 27, Yardley, PA

Current role: Finding her voice as novice nun Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act.

Born This Way: “I came out of the womb doing triple time steps,” Mindelle deadpans about her theater destiny, but when you hear that her parents met doing regional musicals, and her father is a composer, the joke doesn’t sound too far off. Her hometown’s proximity to New York made it easy to take in all Broadway had to offer, and from an early age she was taking trips to see shows like Big River, Annie and The Phantom of the Opera. “When I was seven, my father and I had a ritual,” Mindelle remembers. “We would go to this restaurant called Sam’s, I would get sesame chicken fingers, and then we’d go see shows.” The train that first brought her to Broadway is still proving useful for the Mindelle family's theater habit. “My parents have been up five times to see Sister Act,” she laughs, “and we haven’t even been open a month.”

Her Inner Ingenue: Mindelle made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of South Pacific and has regional and touring credits like The Wild Party and The Drowsy Chaperone, but Sister Act offers a challenge beyond taking on a big part: She's playing opposite type. “I’ve always been cast as funny and outrageous and quirky and kooky," she says of her offbeat personality. Playing Sister Mary Robert allows Mindelle to be "meek and mousy and a little bit of an ingénue, which I’ve never played,” she says. As it turns out, playing a mousy nun isn’t making Mindelle herself any more meek, or particularly pious. “I got kicked out of a church recently,” she says casually. “I was filming a YouTube music video, playing a girl who stalks a guy who conducts a church choir and some guy, I guess he was like the church bouncer, kicked us out. We just kept filming outside.” Her evaluation of the experience? “Totally worth it.”

Don't Cry for Me: Though having producer Whoopi Goldberg sit in on her final callback for Sister Act—"one of the scariest experiences of my entire life!"—was nerve-wracking, Mindelle is pretty laid back about meeting celebs. “I’m very respectful,” she says. “I don't ask for autographs, even if I am a little starstruck.” But there’s one star that could make Mindelle lose her cool: “I think if I met Patti LuPone, I actually wouldn’t know what to say. I listened to all her recordings—Evita, Anything Goes, anything she did—she really influenced me. I’d probably be like, 'Hommina hommina hommina,' if I met her,” she jokes. “My name was under hers for the Outer Critics Circle nominees and I was like, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” she laughs. “Maybe I should put it in my dressing room.”

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