“The Book of Mormon” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17-19 at the IU Auditorium. Tickets are available at the IU Auditorium website. Student tickets start at $29 and general tickets start at $30.
The musical follows two Mormon missionaries through their mission in Uganda where they are met with indifference toward their religion by the locals. The show is satirical and humorous, aiming to critically examine the Church of Latter-day Saints.
“The Book of Mormon” has received enormous critical praise since its 2011 Broadway debut from the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post and “The Daily Show.” It has won nine Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.
The national tour, which spans the U.S. and parts of Canada, will make its 20th of 54 stops in Bloomington. Craig Franke, cast member and IU alumnus, said a tour this long and wide-reaching is challenging, but rewarding.
“It’s tough, but it’s nice that you have 50 other people with you doing the exact same thing;, you’re able to form your own community,” Franke said. “I love being in a new city every night and exploring. That’s one of the best parts.”
Franke, who plays Elder White and several other characters, is a graduate of IU’s musical theater program. He said he values his time here greatly and was grateful to have access to conservatory-level education without sacrificing the opportunities afforded by a large university.
Franke said working on productions of “The Producers,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Jersey Boys” have been some of the highlights of his career, but that “The Book of Mormon” tops them all.
One of the most interesting things about this tour was the diversity of audiences with which the players interact and observing the differences between them, he said.
“You see different parts of the country react to different things in different ways,” Franke said. “You really get to learn different areas and their sensibilities. People in Texas definitely laugh at different things than people in Los Angeles.”
“The Book of Mormon” has been most often praised for its provocative and daring humor, but Franke said that’s not its only draw. Although he believes it to be among the funniest musicals of all time, he said audiences may come away from it with more than just sore sides.
“The show’s secret is that, yes, it has a lot of humor that can push the boundaries, but it also has an unbelievable amount of heart,” he said. “And if you pay attention, I think that becomes apparent to most everybody who watches it.”