Do you find humor in everything? Are you not easily offended? Do you enjoy taking advantage of the world-class art scene here in Buffalo? Yes? Well, Tony Award Winning The Book of Mormon is coming back to Shea’s and you should most definitely attend.
This is your opportunity to see one of the most outrageous shows in town. This is not your grandma’s favorite musical. There’s no protests against a town’s first pool table or a masked man haunting a theater. This comedy musical pokes fun at religion and at humanity in general while following two Mormon missionaries through their experience in Uganda. Sometimes crude, sometimes offensive, always hilarious.
“Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” is just a taste of the kind of musical experience that awaits with lines like “I can’t believe Jesus called me a DICK!” being the easiest line to swallow in the whole song.
I heard you were pulled from your finals and awarded the female lead for the show. That must have been pretty exciting.
Absolutely. I went to an open call for the show, so it was a total surprise when I got the call. I would tell you what year I was wrapping up in college, but the entire cast has been playing an age game where no one knows each other’s age and I can’t give away mine now!
Which came first for you, acting or singing?
Singing was my original passion. I took classical voice lessons when I was 14 years old. I was a very hard core classical music fan for a while and then in the middle of high school, I got into musical theatre. The acting came after everything. I took dance from age 15. “I wanna dance, Mom! “ That was pretty late in life to learn how to dance. After the singing and the dancing, I thought, “I should probably learn about acting. “ I’ve always been dramatic…
Do you have a musical family? Any brothers and sisters who also participate?
I’m an only child, but my mom is one of 20 and my dad is one of 13. That’s Arkansas! I guess people just want to have a lot of help on the farm!
What sort of role did Arkansas play in your rise to starring in a major theatre production?
My story is crazy – if I had stayed in Arkansas and not gone to Belmont, it probably would have been impossible. It’s a place where musical theater is just not a thing. But music certainly was. We had an amazing choir program that not only attracted me to singing, but also towards Classical.
Then, I left for Belmont in Nashville – What an amazing city with a strong musical theater community. Honestly, if I stayed in Arkansas, I may have ended up a school teacher.
In regards to Book of Mormon, is it tough to not burst out laughing during some of the ridiculous lines and songs?
The material is so hilarious. Nabulingi is so naïve. If I’m in the character I take it all in, and think, “That’s crazy!” “That’s cool!” [When speaking of the Ugandan villagers hearing Mormon explanations for the circumstances the villagers find themselves in.] They don’t know it’s nonsense, they think it’s real. So the comedy comes in when I believe what I’m saying. If I’m not doing my job correctly then I might laugh. But most days it’s, “Maggots in your scrotum? that’s NUTS!”
Who are some of your influences?
Singing/Musical theater: Audrey McDonald. I grew up listening to Whitney and Monica as well. In songs like “Baptize Me,” I can have a more R& B sound. I am a huge R&B fan. Give me a powerful black woman and I just love it. 90s R&B is my absolute favorite – the best music there ever was.
What would you say to anyone who is considering attending one of the shows in June?
Come in with an open mind and a good sense of humor. Know that this is such a journey and the jokes are great and it has so much heart. If you leave yourself open to it, you’ll leave totally moved because there is a good message behind what seems like an obscene story at face value.
Ticket’s are available at the Shea’s Box Office or any Ticketmaster Location or Ticketmaster.com. Orchestra level seating for the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday evening performances start at $59 location. The show runs June 2 through June 8 with two shows on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll see you there!