“The Book of Mormon” is known for its satirical look at the Mormon faith and society. It’s the characters’ journeys, though, that continue to attract audiences.
“The Book of Mormon” national tour will visit ASU Gammage Aug. 6-11, for the third time.
In “The Book of Mormon,” Elders Price and Arnold Cunningham are sent to Africa on their mission. The experience isn’t what they expected, as they’re faced with a population dealing with AIDS and a local warlord.
Along their journey, the overachieving Price and the nerdy Cunningham form an unlikely friendship, and Cunningham takes on an unexpected leadership role.
The show was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame and Robert Lopez, the co-creator of “Avenue Q.” It opened on Broadway in 2011 and has won nine Tony Awards and a Grammy.
On the national tour, Liam Tobin stars as Price; Andy Huntington Jones as Elder McKinley; Kayla Pecchioni as Nabulungi; Jacques C. Smith as Mafala Hatimbi; Corey Jones as the General and Jordan Matthew Brown as Cunningham.
Before taking on the role of Cunningham, Brown was the role’s standby on Broadway. A graduate of Boston University’s BFA acting program, he has won the Bette Davis Prize for Acting and was nominated for the ArtsImpulse Award for Best Student Actor for his work as Leo Frank in “Parade.”
As a standby, Brown had to be prepared to go on at a moment’s notice. Playing the role daily has come with physical and vocal challenges. Brown said it is worth it.
“It is a role I always dreamed of getting to do. It was a big task. It scared and excited me. It is so well done because it is a role that allows us to grow,” Brown said.
Brown identified with his character since the first time he saw the show. Cunningham isn’t presented as the typical friend of the leading man. He has the chance to shine, just as Price does.
“The show flips the trope of the sidekick and has a full journey for him,” Brown said. “The show is so brilliant because it takes so many classics we know and flips them on their head.”
Central to the show is the friendship that develops between the two missionaries, who seem like complete opposites.
“It’s this journey you don’t expect either of them to go on, and I think the friendship between them is what ties it together,” Brown said.
Prior to becoming leading men, Brown and Tobin had developed a rapport as standbys on Broadway. Brown said although the show is filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, audiences can identify with the characters.
“One of the reasons it’s lasted is it’s so funny, raunchy and full of heart,” Brown said.
For those who have seen the show before, there are nuances to be discovered within it.
“People come back again and again because they discover new jokes and new moments,” Brown said.
Information: 480-965-3434, asugammage.com.