There was big casting news announced over the weekend with the news of the West End company who will open The Book of Mormon here in the West End next year. The smash-hit Broadway musical from the innovative minds of South Park creators Trey Stone and Matt Parker opens at the Prince of Wales theatre in February 2013 with American stage performers Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner to reprise the principal roles of ‘Elder Price’ and ‘Elder Cunningham’ respectively. Creel and Gertner are currently leading the Los Angeles production of the musical.
The Book of Mormon follows the two Mormon missionaries as they leave Salt Lake City to travel to a remote village in northern Uganda to spread the word of the Lord, and with songs that are littered with lewd profanity, it’s probably not one for kids. The musical, created by Parker and Stone in collaboration with Avenue ‘s Robert Lopez, is one of Broadway’s most popular shows though; featuring musical numbers such as ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’, ‘Spooky Mormon Dream Hell’ and ‘I Believe’, the religious satire has won nine Tony Awards and been acclaimed by critics and theatre-goers alike, described as “a cup of some of the sweetest poison ever poured” (The Washington Post). The original cast recording is the highest charting Broadway cast album in more than forty years (hitting No. 3 on the US Billboard chart) and went in at No. 2 on the iTunes Top Ten chart on the day of its release, making it the fastest-selling Broadway album in the music site’s history.
Gavin Creel’s Broadway credits include Thoroughly Modern Mille and Hair, and he has previously appeared in the West End, playing ‘Bert’ in Mary Poppins and ‘Claude’ in Hair. Gertner has performed in Broadway productions such as Spelling Bee and Ordinary Days and will be making his West End debut with The Book of Mormon. The creative team, which includes director Casey Nicholaw and producers Anne Garefino, Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman, were originally searching for British stage performers to fill the two lead roles, but instead decided to go for “the real thing” by casting American actors. In Baz Bamigboye’s Daily Mail column, producer Sonia Friedman is quoted on the subject, saying: “It became clear early on in the audition process in London that we needed the real thing.” Comparing the character of ‘Elder Price’ to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, she went on to explain: “He’s that sort of square-jawed Mormon, and you can’t create that all-American look.”
Starring alongside Creel and Gertner in the West End production of The Book of Mormon are home-grown talents Stephen Ashfield (Legally Blonde, Jersey Boys), Alexia Khadime (Les Miserables, Wicked) and Daniel Buckley (Loserville). The rest of the company features: Mark Anderson, Benjamin Brook, Daniel Clift, Ashley Day, Terry Doe, Candace Furbert, Patrick George, Nadine Higgin, Tyrone Huntley, Evan James, Chris Jarman, Michael Kent, Matt Krzan, Oliver Liddert, Daniel McKinley, Luke Newton, Terel Nugent, Haydn Oakley, Olivia Phillip, Lucy St. Louis, Giles Terera, Kayi Ushe, Tosh Wanogho-Maud and Liam Wrate.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Tuesday 13th November 2012