Described by The Washington Post as “extraordinarily well-crafted,” “The Book of Mormon” will show from Oct. 29-Nov. 3. The musical is known for its satirical comedy and has toured the nation since its Broadway debut in 2011.
When actress Alyah Chanelle Scott first learned she was going to perform in the upcoming tours of “The Book of Mormon,” she described it as a “dream come true.” The 2019 University of Michigan graduate began working with the show quickly after finishing her studies. She plays Nabulungi, the lead female role of the musical.
“It’s a role that I have dreamt of playing for so long,” Chanelle Scott said. “Even when I was in college I was singing songs that (Nabulungi) sings in the show."
The show deals with themes revolving around the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, race and religion. Because of these sensitive topics and its satirical nature, many have viewed its content as offensive or crude. However, Chanelle Scott finds the humor to be well-planned.
“The Book of Mormon” is written by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Both Parker and Stone are well-known for their work in the animated sitcom “South Park.”
“Something that is so great about the show is that it’s really comical and it’s sort of adult humor, but the show is so well-written it doesn’t ever do it just to poke fun at someone,” Chanelle Scott said. “(The writers) put so much research into creating the show so that all of the jokes are for a purpose.”
The story follows the adventures of two Mormon missionaries, Kevin Price and Arnold Cunningham, in their attempts to convert locals in the country of Uganda. Through their religious ambitions, they come to meet Nabulungi, a local Ugandan. Chanelle Scott emphasized that while the musical originally presents itself as a lighthearted show, it eventually morphs into a nuanced tale.
“You come expecting to laugh and have a good time, but by the end of the show, you might have cried,” Chanelle Scott said. “The story really takes you on a journey that has so much heart behind it. I think that’s something people don’t expect just because of the title and the ‘South Park’ name behind it.”
Chanelle Scott describes her character’s journey throughout the musical as a “coming-of-age” story and, over time, she has found similarities connecting herself to Nabulungi. In addition, she finds fulfillment through the representation she adds to the stage while traveling across the country.
“I found my love for musicals when I saw a musical called ‘Memphis,'” Chanelle Scott said. “It was my first time seeing a black woman lead a show, and for me, as a young girl of color, I didn’t get to see that often. I saw myself in her a lot, and from that one moment, I knew that I had to do what she had done.”
The cast typically performs eight shows a week during its tour. Chanelle Scott discussed some of the mental and physical strains of having such an intensive performance schedule and how she has found support through her family throughout her traveling.
Chanelle Scott revisited the themes of the musical when asked about its influence on the audience. She touched on the universal ideas of endurance she noticed in her time with the show.
“Though your circumstance may seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there is,” Chanelle Scott said. “However you get there is OK for you.”
In keeping with the tradition of many other Broadway shows, a lottery will take place two hours prior to the start of the performance. Each person is limited to one entry in hopes of reaching any potential audience members who had not had an opportunity to purchase tickets ahead of showtime. However, participants can request up to two tickets. The price of the lottery ticket is $25.
The performances will take place in the IU Auditorium with tickets for all shows starting at $25 for students and $29 for regular admission. Tickets can be purchased at www.iuauditorium.com and through the IU Auditorium Box Office.