The Book of Mormon returns to DPAC next month with performances August 7th through August 12th. This is an incredibly popular musical has been performing to sellout crowds since it first hit Broadway in 2011. I’ve been looking forward to seeing for quite some time and am thrilled I will have a chance to catch it when it rolls into Durham.
The musical follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of Mormon missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Wood in a small village in Uganda. It is a comedy, but is deals with religion in an unlikely place. So how is that funny you ask? Well all you need to know is that the script, lyrics, and music were all written by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone – otherwise known as the creators of “South Park”. So you just know that there will be lots of laughs and based on all the rave reviews the show has received that is exactly what I am expecting.
I recently spoke by phone with Kayla Pecchioni who plays Nabalungi, the principal female lead in the show, to find out what it is like to be part of such an unusual musical and get a better understanding of what to expect from this popular show.
When did you know you wanted to be on stage and Work in Theater?
My grandmother was the one who pushed me towards theater and acting stage. She was a very strong influence on me. The rest of my family is made up of doctors and lawyers. I am kind of the odd ball. My grandmother was big in theater, and big in music. I started taking dance classes by the time I was six years old and dance has always kind of been my thing. Actually it wasn’t until much later, around my last year of high school that I realized I loved to act and sing. I decided to study theater in college and that has grown into the career I have today.
What were some of your first acting jobs before landing the role in Mormon?
I spent some time performing internationally with Norwegian Cruise Line and then landed a singing role with the The Rockettes at Radio City in NYC. That lead to an opportunity to perform in “Dream Girls” for a four month stint in South Korea. It was an amazing experience. When I returned from Korea I was back working at Radio City when the opportunity to audition for The Book of Mormon came up. I landed the part and headed out on tour a few weeks later and have been with the production for about 7 months now!
What can you share about your character and her role in the show?
My character’s name is Nabulungi. It is a tough name to say so she gets called many different names during the course of the show. I like to describe her as the “Disney-type” princess or village sweetheart because everyone in the village just loves with her. When missionaries come into town my character tries to get the villagers to follow them and their Mormon teachings. My character is very hopeful that she can help her people find their way to paradise… but she doesn’t have much luck at first but there sure are a lot of laughs as she tries.
What do you want people to take away from seeing Mormon?
The show is so in your face and funny that at first some people may not fully grasp the message, but it will make you laugh and that is what I hope people do. In the end, the show is less about making fun at the Mormon faith and more about self-belief and the power to make change for good. Even for the people who come to see the show multiple times they will see new things or something that they missed previously every time they come back. Because you know each time you see it you are laughing so hard so often that you might miss the next joke.
THE BOOK OF MORMON has performances Tuesday, August 7 through Sunday, August 12th at The Durham Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/the-book-of-mormon-2