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West End Finally Gets Its Mormons

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Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/8/12 at 08:43pm

Elder Price - Not Really

U.S. stars preach to the converted
The hit Broadway musical The Book Of Mormon will feature American actors in the two key roles in London because the producers insisted on having the ‘real thing’.
Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner will play Mormon missionaries Elder Price and Elder Cunningham when the musical starts at the Prince of Wales Theatre from February 25.
The show, which is loaded with subversive wit, comes from the pens of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez, who gave us Avenue Q.
Initially, the creative team, including director and choreographer Casey Nickolaw and producers Scott Rudin, Anne Garefino and Sonia Friedman, figured they’d cast British actors as the two Mormon Elders who get into hot water when they are sent to deepest Uganda to spread the word of the Lord.


Mission: Americans Jared Gertner and Gavin Creel will play Mormon missionaries in The Book of Mormon when it opens at the Prince of Wales Theatre

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2230204/BAZ-BAMIGBOYE-Fames-silver-lining-Bradley-Cooper-whos-longer-sexiest-man-alive.html#ixzz2BgaHexNj
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‘It became clear early on during the audition process in London that we needed the real thing,’ Ms Friedman said.
For instance, straitlaced Elder Price is a Mitt Romney type. ‘He’s that sort of square-jawed Mormon, and you can’t create that all-American look,’ Friedman observed.
I’ve seen The Book Of Mormon several times in New York, where it’s the city’s biggest smash. I was keen to get an outsider point of view so I sent the son of a colleague to check it out while he was holidaying in Manhattan. Two of the songs are called Hasa Diga Eebowai and Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, and he hailed them as ‘spectacularly lewd’ — and believe me they are.
But, as I’ve written before, there’s more to Mormon than profanity. It’s also a brilliantly constructed Broadway musical with a heart of gold. The rest of the company will include British actors Stephen Ashfield, Alexia Khadime and Daniel Buckley.


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Updated On: 11/8/12 at 08:43 PM
UKtheatrekid
Featured Actor
joined:5/4/08
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 12:02am
As incredible as im sure they both are... I can't help but be a little disappointed by this. The UK has some incredible performers, and unfortunately they get overlooked in order to cast a celebrity or someone who will bring in a bigger audience. No matter how Talented Gavin and Jared are, the only people who care about them would have seen the show regardless. Personally I think it's a travesty that UK talent was over looked.
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Princeton Returns
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 12:50am
they tried UK first with no joy, which isnt surprising. I do wonder if they cant find what they want now, will this always be an issue if it makes it to recasting. They have also had trouble castjng the Chicago sit down production
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Nickhutson
Broadway Star
joined:7/6/06
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 01:47am
The UK weren't overlooked. They were casting it for MONTHS. I am sure the much more hard working ensemble will be made of Brits.

Also - I wouldn't say Creel and Gertner are "celebrities". I'd rather them than some bloke off Britain's got the X Factor.
Nick Hutson Co-Presenter/Producer MusicalTalk - The UK's Musical Theatre Podcast http://www.musicaltalk.co.uk
greeny11
Stand-by
joined:4/29/11
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 04:58am
The other principal roles are Stephen Ashfield as McKinley, Alexia Khadime as Nabalungi, Giles Terera as Mafala Hatimbi, Haydn Oakley as Price's Dad and others, and Chris Jarman will be the General. Daniel Buckley is standby Elder Cunningham.

Updated On: 11/9/12 at 04:58 AM
DeNada
Broadway Star
joined:7/7/07
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 05:39am
As Nick says, Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner won't sell a single ticket themselves. Although Gavin has some name recognition here, who's heard of Jared Gertner beyond the few of us sadcases who watch Submissions Only?

In some ways it's worse than I might have thought, as the insinuation is essentially that there were no male UK actors who were "right" enough to open the show. A slightly depressing thought, really, but it seems to be a continuing trend.

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FireFingers
Stand-by
joined:11/16/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 05:41am
Wonderful news. I do love that when it was announced everyone went "Surely Alexia Khadime is going to be Nabalungi" and months later she has!

And they tried to cast un-American. They spent a long time, had tons of casting calls, and they decided that it would be better performed by two actors who had done it previously. Their understudies will no doubt be from this side of the channel, and can see Creel and Gertner only doing 6 months and then handing over to their understudies.

Got my ticket for the Tuesday after press night, greatly looking forward to it.
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TBFL
Leading Actor
joined:2/1/11
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 05:48am
I can understand why they went with Gavin and Jared. They have great chemistry and have received great reviews for the tour production, and they want the London production to get the best start possible. At least there is no stunt casting anywhere in the company. I just wish it was Andrew Rannells instead of Gavin.

They have just announced the casting for the Chicago company and their Elder Cunningham doesnt fit the usual mold - he's not short or tubby, so it will be interesting to see how casting changes down the line.
Updated On: 11/9/12 at 05:48 AM
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theeatah
Featured Actor
joined:1/31/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 06:34am
I'm much more pleased at the prospect of Creel rather than Rannells. Wonder if they'll at least do a London EP.
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 10:16am
Please. They are merely okay facsimiles of the Broadway leads. And Creel, in his white shirt and tie looks TWICE the age Price should be, and placing him next to Getner who looks believably 19 makes it even work.

Now I'm not saying these actors are anything but very good in the roles. But they are the TOUR cast. Its not like they're the original Broadway cast.

I am SO sure there are sufficiently comedicly talented Brits who could have taken these roles. Insulting to the immense talent over there.
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MusicalBoy
Broadway Star
joined:12/3/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 10:41am
^ Nobody ever said that the casting of Creel and Gertner was due to a lack of talent in the west end, you're getting angry about something which you fabricated yourself.

After months spent legitimately trying to cast the roles on this side of the channel, to little success, the powers that be concluded that the show would wash better anyway with an all american Price and Gertner to deliver the distinctly American humour.

And I'm not sure why you think the original broadway cast should, for any reason, be any better or have some magical quality when Gavin Creel is a far more experienced, better sounding and tony nominated actor who was working in broadway shows while Rannells was workshopping Price for a few years.
mickeyjotheatre.webs.com

2014 Theatre: One Man Two Guvnors**** Coriolanus*** M For Medea* Wicked***** Gaslight***** Rent: In Concert** War Horse**** Birdsong*** Romeo and Juliet** Worst Wedding Ever** Good People***** Derren Brown: Infamous***** Blithe Spirit*** The Phantom of the Opera***** Urinetown**** Other Desert Cities***** Betty Blue Eyes*** King Lear***
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 10:59am
Because I've seen both and Rannells is clearly the better Price.

And do you realize how your two statements:

"Nobody ever said that the casting of Creel and Gertner was due to a lack of talent in the west end, you're getting angry about something which you fabricated yourself.

After months spent legitimately trying to cast the roles on this side of the channel, to little success, the powers that be concluded that the show would wash better anyway with an all american Price and Gertner to deliver the distinctly American humour."

contradict each other?

Updated On: 11/9/12 at 10:59 AM
TBFL Profile Photo
TBFL
Leading Actor
joined:2/1/11
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 11:30am
I saw Andrew in the broadway production and was amazing, and i also saw Jared opposite him, but at the time he was basically doing an impression of Josh Gad as Cunningham, so it will be interesting to see him putting his own spin on the role.

I have a recording of the Mormon tour cast and to me, Gavin Creel just isnt as vocally intetesting as Andrew Rannells, but seeing it in performance may be something different.

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MusicalBoy
Broadway Star
joined:12/3/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 12:11pm
This is really the last time I'm going to point this out to you, Owen22, but this is what I'm saying:

- The producers auditioned lots of talented west end actors who they don't consider right for the part/ don't wash right with the whole american vibe.


This is what I'm NOT saying:

- The west end actors weren't talented enough.
mickeyjotheatre.webs.com

2014 Theatre: One Man Two Guvnors**** Coriolanus*** M For Medea* Wicked***** Gaslight***** Rent: In Concert** War Horse**** Birdsong*** Romeo and Juliet** Worst Wedding Ever** Good People***** Derren Brown: Infamous***** Blithe Spirit*** The Phantom of the Opera***** Urinetown**** Other Desert Cities***** Betty Blue Eyes*** King Lear***
DeNada
Broadway Star
joined:7/7/07
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 12:20pm
Well clearly it wasn't entirely an issue of West End actors being talented enough... as Mark Evans is taking over Elder Price on the US Tour!

http://www.bookofmormonbroadway.com/show_cast_tour1.php

This would jive with the rumours that were going around for a long time about Evans playing Price but difficulties finding a Cunningham. I guess in pairing him with a new Cunningham in the States they'll have more of a "partnership" going on, whereas if he'd had to play opposite an existing Cunningham over here it might not have worked so well.

Maybe it also helps with Equity exchange regulations or something - I should imagine that Gavin Creel is "known" well enough for MT in Britain that it wouldn't matter so much, but there might have been an exchange for Jared Gertner? I can never keep track of how the Equity exchange thing works but it's a possibility I guess.
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MusicalBoy
Broadway Star
joined:12/3/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 12:23pm
WHAT?! Good for him, and good choice and all - but this is all getting very convoluted....
mickeyjotheatre.webs.com

2014 Theatre: One Man Two Guvnors**** Coriolanus*** M For Medea* Wicked***** Gaslight***** Rent: In Concert** War Horse**** Birdsong*** Romeo and Juliet** Worst Wedding Ever** Good People***** Derren Brown: Infamous***** Blithe Spirit*** The Phantom of the Opera***** Urinetown**** Other Desert Cities***** Betty Blue Eyes*** King Lear***
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Scripps2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/19/08
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 12:59pm
I have to say I'm disappointed we haven't got Rannells & Gad.

And I do think it will be difficult for British performers, being from the nation(s) of cynics that we are, to pick up that American perfectly-white-teeth, perfectly-straight-hair combination of optimism, idealism and naivety that these roles seem to need.
DeNada
Broadway Star
joined:7/7/07
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 01:05pm
Well the teeth in particular are going to be difficult for us Brits...

Rannells and Gad would have been very unlikely - both have TV shows now, after all (with Gad's yet to premiere and Rannells' having already had extra episodes ordered). Creel was great in Poppins and Hair, and Gertner is certainly very funny on Submissions Only (playing the most obnoxious theatre geek in the world), so fingers crossed!

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Princeton Returns
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 01:05pm
I agree Scripps, its a hard role to cast to get all aspects right. As much as I don't rate him at all, Mark Evans is probably as close as we get here.

I suspect he is being tried out on tour, let an established actor in the role open the West End production then if mark does well he will transfer over after 3-6 months
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FireFingers
Stand-by
joined:11/16/10
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 01:18pm
Regarding the Equity exchange, Bertie Carvel was very recently confirmed to be opening Matilda on Broadway, so that might well be the exchange.

Though I think you can have an American come over if you have proven that you have explored avenues in the UK already, which the definitely did.
jman16
Swing
joined:5/4/12
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/9/12 at 04:58pm
Delighted with the cast. I think Gavin and Jared will do a fab job, as I've heard nothing but good things about their time on tour.

It seems obvious that Mark taking over the tour, will be his initiation, before he comes back to London undoubtedly in a few months time.
rjm516
Broadway Star
joined:6/24/09
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/10/12 at 11:16pm
This is brilliant casting. You weren't going to get Rannells and Gad, and these two are the next best thing. And as an American, i have been commonly disappointed with the portrayal of Americans in West End shows. Roles in Singin' in the Rain and Wicked spring immediately to mind. I'm sure some people can do a good accent, but I haven't seen it yet. So this is great. You can't have non-American sounding Mormons.
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Nickhutson
Broadway Star
joined:7/6/06
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/11/12 at 03:22am
Hugh Laurie's American accent fooled a lot of people into thinking House MD really was American.

But - yes, I am glad we're getting really cheesy Americans to play... really cheesy Americans :)
Nick Hutson Co-Presenter/Producer MusicalTalk - The UK's Musical Theatre Podcast http://www.musicaltalk.co.uk
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devonian.t
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/04
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/11/12 at 04:04am
Of course, playing a young dumb American mormon is by far the most difficult role to act in the entire musical theatre repertoire. Far easier, say, to find somebody to play a French ex-convict, who ages 45 years over the course of 2 hours.

This is lazy casting. If you want to bring the American cast because it makes life easier, that's one thing, but to pretend you can't find a pretty young actor with a good voice and comic timing in Britain is frankly ridiculous. I could point out dozens on Spotlight.
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/11/12 at 05:06am
Dear Musical Boy: I know you are a child and good for you for taking such an interest in theatre at such a young age.

But you're too young to be such a little bitch.

Leave that to us cynical oldsters.
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
West End Finally Gets Its Mormons
Posted: 11/11/12 at 05:09am
"This is lazy casting. If you want to bring the American cast because it makes life easier, that's one thing, but to pretend you can't find a pretty young actor with a good voice and comic timing in Britain is frankly ridiculous. I could point out dozens on Spotlight."

Amen devonian.t

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