Back by popular demand, The Book Of Mormon, makes two stops in Central Florida: the Straz Center for the Performing Arts from December 5-10 and then to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts from Dec 12-17.
The Book Of Mormon features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, South Park. Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.
The Book Of Mormon is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Featured Actress, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design and Best Orchestrations; the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.
The Book Of Mormon features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.
This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Now with standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, The Book Of Mormon has truly become an international sensation. Show contains explicit language.
It was a pleasure to sit down with PJ Adzima who plays Elder McKinley for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
At what age did you begin singing/acting?
I began acting when I was 8 years old when my parents signed me up for a summer theater camp for kids with The Hampshire Shakespeare Company. I took to it immediately and became obsessed with my time there. I was a handful as a kid, and to see something resonate so deeply with me was the answer to my parent’s prayers. From then on I only had one fix, and that was theater.
What was your first professional gig?
My first professional gig came because of that same camp funny enough. The Hampshire Shakespeare Company was producing Richard III the next summer, and asked me to come in and audition because of my time in their camp. I think that’s where the bug really bit. I spent an entire summer surrounded by adults playing pretend, and it absolutely blew my mind. Suddenly this wasn’t something I just did with other kids, it was something that people took seriously and I couldn’t believe I was a part of it.
Other than this show, what role has been your favorite to play and why?
This is reading like a love letter to my Shakespeare roots, but I really wouldn’t be here without them. I grew up performing Shakespeare every summer in very small supporting roles, and I branched out to other types of theater because of the love of acting it gave me. I didn’t even start singing and dancing until high school, where musicals ruled the theater scene. My favorite roll came right before I left for college, when the same Shakespeare Company that introduced me to theater cast me as Hamlet in their 2010 season. I’m still amazed and humbled by that experience. That full-circle moment is something that will stay with me forever.
What’s your fantasy role?
Elder McKinley is and continues to be my fantasy role. I have dreamed of being in The Book of Mormon from the moment it hit Broadway, but even in those dreams I never thought I’d be asked to play such an incredible part. I love every minute I get to spend in his signature blue tie, and my head still spins thinking about this wonderful opportunity.
Is there a lot of pressure stepping in to the character of Elder McKinley?
All of the pressure came from myself. The Mormon team is made up of the most talented, warm, and patient people I’ve ever met. It’s everyone’s objective to make you as prepared and confident as possible in taking over the role, and I was in the absolute best of hands. The pressures came from being hard on myself during the process, and the physical burden of dancing so hard your feet bleed. (That’s pressure enough.)
What should the Central Florida audiences expect out of this touring company of Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon won 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical when it first debuted in 2011, and the show is just as fresh and fiercely funny as ever. I don’t think you can find a more hilarious night at the theater, and an abundant amount of heart. It really is a one of a kind experience, and even better than I hoped it would be when I first dreamed of being in it.
For more information on The Book of Mormon visit: BookofMormonBroadway.com/tour