Broadway star returns to direct “Sister Act”

RALEIGH, N.C. — A Broadway star is returning home to direct and choreograph a production slated to debut this week.

What You Need To Know

  • Robert Hartwell is a Raleigh native
  • “Sister Act” opens Tuesday night, Oct. 11, at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
  • The show runs until October 16

Robert Hartwell is a Raleigh native, set to return to his home state to direct and choreograph “Sister Act” for the North Carolina Theatre.

The musical will take place at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium this week. It’s a location that holds a special place in Hartwell’s heart.

“At Raleigh Memorial Auditorium is where I saw the national tour of ‘Cats’ when I think I was 9 years old, and that moment changed the rest of my life,” Hartwell said.

Hartwell received his high school diploma from the UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem before getting his bachelor in fine arts in musical theatre from the University of Michigan.

He has spent the last 13 years in New York City.

“I’ve performed in five Broadway musicals and two national tours. ‘Hello Dolly’ with Bette Midler, ‘Memphis’ the musical, ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It,’ ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Motown,’” Hartwell said. 

The last time Hartwell was in Raleigh, he was directing the theatre’s production of “Memphis,” but audiences could not see it because of the pandemic shutdown. Because of that, his short tenure this time around is set to be even more rewarding.

“I’m excited to sit in the audience on opening night and remember that little boy who was just so excited to see ‘Cats’ and get to see a big, beautiful musical that I directed and choreographed,” Hartwell said.

“Sister Act” runs Oct. 11-16. Tickets are available now.