Described as “Heaven on Broadway” by recent critics, The Book of Mormon is set to sweep Broadway Austin once more. A limited number of shows will be performed at Bass Concert Hall.
Based on two young Mormon missionaries who travel to Africa to preach the Mormon religion, the show is designed to produce some laughs. Also known for the creation of animated series, “South Park”, The Book of Mormon features a book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone.
The musical first debuted in 2011 and is now a winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Direction and Best Featured Actress.
Ahead of its 2018 showing, we spoke with Conner Peirson about his comical role and a few fun surprises you can find in the musical.
Tell us a little bit about your role as Elder Cunningham.
In a lot of ways Elder Cunningham is the heart of the show. I think it’s his nonstop honest desire to do the best he can, while still missing the mark every time really endears him to the audience.
What’s your favorite part about the character?
Really just that! His complete earnestness, he has the purest intentions in all of his actions but sometimes his nerves take over, and things get out of hand.
The Book of Mormon has received raving reviews, including “the best musical of the century” by The New York Times. What do you think makes this musical stand out from other shows?
Laughter is so important, and the show creates a space where people can escape for a while and share in some comedy — and really, really smart comedy. The show in the end also has such a positive message that I think the audience is able to take that feeling away with them. I always learned in school that the best way to deal with potentially heavy subject matter while also communicating real ideas is through laughter.
Which scene stands out to you the most?
There are a few fun surprises, and the show is written in such a way that every scene is important to the story, so it’s hard to nail it down. It’s very fast paced so sometimes what will make one scene stand out to me over the rest is how out of breath I am at that moment.
And lastly, why should our Texas Lifestyle Magazine readers come out to Bass Concert Hall to see you in the Book of Mormon?
What I keep hearing from audience members at the stage door is that it was different then what they were expecting, but always with a huge grin on their faces. They’ve heard about it long enough, I think it’s a good time to come and see what everyone is talking about!
Cover photo Kim Exum, Conner Peirson in The Book of Mormon, Washington, D.C., November 17, 2017
All photography courtesy Julieta Cervantes