International sensation, ‘The Book of Mormon’ returns to San DiegoEntertainment News, Feature Story, Latest Issue, Section 4A Thursday, July 20th, 2017
At this point it’s probably pretty safe to say that the musical The Book of Mormon, written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone is a piece of musical theater that is globally recognized.
The creators of South Park, yet another phenomenon for the writing duo, pushed the limits beyond that of the small screen by premiering their musical on Broadway in 2011. Rumor has it the team first came up with the idea after seeing the musical Avenue Q in 2003.
Stone and Parker along with collaborator Robert Lopez (Frozen) met with current and former Mormon missionaries and the birth of this nine-time Tony Award winning show began.
Mormon is now playing on Broadway, in London and Australia and is on tour in North America with a planned stop in San Diego at the Civic Theatre from July 25 through July 30.
This cult favorite has had two national tours and is now playing Stockholm, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
If you haven’t seen the show, you have most likely heard of it. The question that comes to mind, if you haven’t seen it is why?
Mormon is one of those rare shows that will make you laugh at the absurdity of life. If you can let yourself go and enjoy all of the wrong things that happen in the show, you will definitely walk out with a smile on your face.
Many may argue that it goes too far, but in all honesty, if the show went too far would it be having the success it’s had since 2011?
The story of Mormon is pretty basic. Two young Mormon missionaries travel to Africa to preach the Mormon religion.
See? Basic. It’s the pairing of these two missionaries and their journey together, and apart, that make this show hilarious. Elder Price, a steadfast, devout and handsome Mormon, hopes to do his two-year mission in Orlando and prays daily to make that happen. He is paired with Elder Cunningham, who is a habitual liar and terribly insecure.
They are sent to Uganda, not Orlando, and upon their arrival they are robbed and meet local villagers including the young and beautiful Nabulungi.
Playing the pivotal roles of Price and Cunningham on tour are Gabe Gibbs and Conner Peirson respectively. Both actors along with San Jose native Myha’la Herrold who plays Nabulungi are relative newcomers to the Mormon family.
Herrold joined the cast quite recently after a few years of auditioning for the Tony award winning show. But oddly enough she wasn’t all that familiar with the show.
“I had only heard some of the songs,” Herrold admitted. “But knew about its success. Many of my peers and teachers told me Nabulungi would be a good part for me so I auditioned. I auditioned three times within two years before I was offered the job.”
It’s no surprise that Herrold’s current career path is taking her exactly where she has always hoped to be, ever since she was a child.
“I’ve been singing and dancing my whole life,” Herrold said. “I’ve never wanted to do anything else. “It was my whole life! All I ever did.”
She attended Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose and graduated in 2014. Mitty is a private school with a well-known performing arts program. Herrold’s talents were recognized by the Bay Area High School Musical Awards in 2013, with an Outstanding Actress Award. That led her on to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards where she performed at Broadways Minskoff Theatre in New York City.
She attributes her success to those close to her, who have always been a big influence in her life over the years.
“My family and friends have always been inspirations,” Herrold said. “Now, femme/women artists of color are who inspire me every day.”
Believe it or not, Herrold is still in school while on tour with the show. She is currently a senior at Carnegie Mellon University and couldn’t be happier with her choice.
“I love CMU for lots of reasons,” Herrold confided. “Aside from the program for acting being one of the top programs in the country, I fell in love with CMU because of the people. They are inspiring, nurturing, eccentric and well-rounded good people who help me be the best version of myself I can be.”
Most actors have admitted that tour life isn’t for everyone. It’s a new city every week, sometimes two in one week depending on the show and it’s schedule. However Herrold seems to be enjoying her first foray into the world of national tours.
“It’s fun and exciting,” Herrold said. “It will take some getting used to, but I already enjoy traveling.”
As for being in the show, that she is now more familiar with, Herrold admits that when she is questioned about what her favorite part of the show is, it’s tough for her to pin down just one moment.
“That is such a hard question to answer,” Herrold said. “I love the whole thing!”
It might be tough to think of anything serious when it comes to The Book of Mormon, but it is said that most comedy comes through the truth and honesty of the characters and who they are. And although the role of Nabulungi is played for laughs, like most of the characters in the show, Herrold has still been able to find some things that she has learned since taking on the role.
“This show is special because it talks about some very pointed topics,” Herrold confessed. “It uses satire as a window into these topics. I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that faith can come in many shapes and sizes, and as long as it’s doing you and the world good, that’s OK!”
Aside from enjoying every moment she has on stage, Herrold does seemingly find the time to enjoy the many cities she is getting the chance to visit. Her stop in San Diego won’t be the actress’s first time in “America’s Finest City”. That being said she has already made some plans while she is here.
“I visited Ocean Beach last year which was very fun!” Herrold said. “I look forward to laying out on the beach and eating burritos.”
Catch The Book Of Mormon at The Civic Theatre located at 1100 Third Ave. (3rd Ave and B Street – Civic Concourse). You can buy tickets at the box office, or you can call 619-570-1100 or get them at broadwaysd.com
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