Oh happy day!
It’s time, once again, to strain your vocal chords to hit that high note in “Happy Day” (don’t lie, we know you’ve tried it) because Whoopi Goldberg and a few of her Sister Act cast members reunited for a special performance of “I Will Follow Him” in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary.
The song featured as the finale hit to the 1992 film, which starred Goldberg as Deloris Van Cartier, a lounge singer who goes into hiding at a convent after witnessing her mobster boyfriend kill a man in cold blood. The Oscar winner stepped out onto the stage of The View Thursday morning to lead costars Wendy Makkena (Mary Robert), Kathy Najimy (Mary Patrick), Sherri Izzard, Darlene Koldenhoven, Beth Fowler, Andrea Robinson, and Prudence Holmes in a celebratory performance.
Stepping in for Sister Alma (actress Rose Perenti died in 1996) was the film’s music supervisor, Marc Shaiman, on the piano. Watch below.
The reunion kicked off with an interview between Goldberg, Makkena, Najimy, and Shaiman with surprise guest Harvey Keitel (Vince LaRocca) and a special message from Maggie Smith (Mother Superior). “I have such fond memories of when we did those crazy, crazy, crazy films,” Smith said in a video recording for Goldberg. She added, “I send you lots of love.”
The actors noted they’ve had casual cast reunions in Goldberg’s dressing room, but nothing this official. Each took a turn calling back their favorite memories of making the original movie. Najimy described how her funny “opera voice” helped land her the jovial role of Mary Patrick, while Makkena explained how nervous she was to have to sing a girl group song in the audition.
She first figured she’d “play the guitar and sing some nice nun song,” but then hired three backup singers to sing “Mr. Postman” — which fans will remember popped up later in the opening medley to the Sister Act sequel. “They burst through the door and they drowned me out,” Makkena said.
Another story for the history books, Najimy described a prank they pulled on a hotel waiter: “[We were in] one of those hotel rooms and we ordered wine and fries, as one does in a nun’s outfit, and we ordered room service… and room service came up and right before it came up I put porn on the TV and we were both in our nun outfits, and I said to [Makkena], ‘Don’t you change it! Don’t you change it!'”
Makkena remembered “sitting on the edge of the bed just watching” the porno while room service came in.
Keitel finished off the interview portion of the Sister Act reunion with a special gift for Goldberg. Referencing the scene in the film when Vince gives Deloris his wife’s coat, the actor offered her a box containing her own purple fur jacket with the words “Whoopi. Love, Harvey” stitched on the inside.
Keitel said he always admired Goldberg for one particular moment in the film: She really wanted Deloris to tell Vince “f— you” instead of the written line, “bless you,” in the final scenes. But she used her frustration to flawlessly deliver the line. “I just think that’s one of the best moments I’ve ever seen on screen of an actress making something work from her own talent,” he said.