The Book of Mormon Australian cast announced
It’s been a long 19 months since Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria, announced that Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s blockbuster musical The Book Of Mormon was heading to Melbourne, and today we can finally reveal the cast for the Australian premiere production.
Winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre album and four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, The Book of Mormon has already broken the house record for the highest selling on sale period of any production in the Princess Theatre’s 159-year history.
The first Australian cast will be led by Canadian Ryan Bondy as Elder Price and American A.J. Holmes as Elder Cunningham, who have previously appeared in the same roles on Broadway, in the West End and across America. Australian actor Blake Bowden (South Pacific, Moonshadow) will be Elder Price Standby and Squabbalogic Artistic Director Jay James-Moody (Mid Summer Nights Dream) will be Elder Cunningham Standby. It is likely that this international casting will cause controversy within the industry and among its supporters, especially given the recent outrage about importing artists for leading roles in musicals such as Aladdin and Kinky Boots.
The leading cast are joined by Zahra Newman as Nabalungi (Miss Julie, The Mountaintop), Bert LaBonté as Mafala (Dream Lover, Winners and Losers) and Rowan Witt as Elder McKinley (Into the Woods, South Pacific).
Other cast members include 2015 Rob Guest Endowment Winner Daniel Assetta, Andrew Broadbent as Price’s Dad/ Joseph Smith/ Mission President, Augustin Aziz Tchantcho as General, Camille Eanga–Selenge, Donell James Foreman, Eddie Grey, Phyre Hawkins, Antwaun Holley, Matt Holly, Todd Jacobsson, Justin Lonesome, Mitchel Mahony, Loredo Malcolm, Joshua Mulheran, Morgan Palmer, Elenoa Rokobaro, Joshua Russell, Ryan Sheppard, CoCo Smith, Timothy Springs, Cessalee Stovall, Teddy Trice, Brinie Wallace and Jamaal Wilson.
Ryan is so excited to be making his overseas debut! Growing up in Ontario, Canada, he never imagined getting the chance to perform in Australia. Ryan is a graduate of Toronto’s top rated George Brown Theatre School and has performed in many shows across Canada, as well as all three US companies of The Book of Mormon. After spending three years in the US Ryan is happy to be in a country that uses celsius again, because it just makes more sense. Ryan sends love to his family and friends, because without their support this would never have been possible. Also Go Jays Go! Selected credits include: The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Ring Round the Moon, Yorkville the Musical (world premiere) Prairie Nurse (world premiere), Innocence Lost, Hometown.
AJ is thrilled to be making his Australian Debut playing his favorite role! As AJ himself is an exceedingly suave and handsome individual—with no social anxieties to speak of—one can only wonder just how he connects to the awkwardness of Arnold. This paradox is not only the greatest acting challenge of AJ’s lifetime, it is also the subject of many serious ongoing academic studies. A veritable Mormon pinball, AJ has portrayed Arnold Cunningham in every company of The Book of Mormon thus far, including: London’s West End, on tour in the U.S., and on Broadway. Other theatre credits include Frederick Frankenstein in the national tour of Young Frankenstein and Henry in Next to Normal(Arizona Theatre Co. & SJ Rep.). AJ is also a composer, having worked on several shows with StarKid Productions (Twisted, A Very Potter Musical, Me and My Dick), all of which can be found on the hit website, YouTube. AJ also recently had an accident where he can only speak in 3rd person, but he loves it. He sends love and gratitude to Mom, Dad, Kellyn, Ksenia, and his incredibly supportive tribe of extended family, friends, and collaborators. Well represented by BRS/GAGE. Proud University of Michigan graduate.
Zahra is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). Her theatre credits include Miss Julie, The Effect, The Mountaintop, The Cherry Orchard, Clybourne Park, The Drowsy Chaperone, Richard III and Rockabye for Melbourne Theatre Company; As You Like It for Bell Shakespeare Company; The Blind Giant is Dancing, Ivanov and Private Lives for Belvoir; Love and Information for Malthouse/Sydney Theatre Company; The Government Inspector for Belvoir/Malthouse Theatre; Menagerie for Daniel Schluser Ensemble/MTC Neon Festival; Randomfor Sydney Opera House/Melbourne Theatre Company/Brisbane Powerhouse. Her television and film credits include Wentworth, Rush, Childhood’s End and Truth. Her radio credits include Poetica Program for ABC Radio National. Awards: Zahra won the Green Room Award for Best Female Actress for Random, and was nominated for Helpmann Awards for Best Female Actor in Play for The Mountaintop and Best Female Actress in a Supporting Role in a Play for The Government Inspector. Zahra is a proud member of Actor’s Equity.
A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Rowan has worked extensively on stage and screen. Some of his recent principal roles include: Jack in Into the Woods (Victorian Opera), Young Buddy in Follies in Concert (StoreyBoard Entertainment), John Hinckley in Assassins (Watch This!), Professor in South Pacific (Opera Australia/GFO), and for the Hayes Theatre Co, Danny in Baby (Neglected Musicals), and Bernstein in Dogfight (Gooding Productions). Rowan’s other credits include Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables, the role of ‘Gussie’ Fink-Nottle in By Jeeves, Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling, The Stockhausen Festival, Squabbalogic’s Mystery Musicals Bye Bye Birdie and Kiss Me, Kate and the twin concerts The Night on the West End and Best of Broadway. Film and television credits include The Matrix, Underbelly, Home & Away, The Escape of the Artful Dodger, Adoration, Somewhere in the Darkness, X: Night of Vengeance, the Gruen Transfer the multi-award-winning shorts Little Blue, Trunk, and more than 35 national and international commercials. As a voice-over artist, Rowan can be heard on screen and radio in numerous advertising campaigns, animations and soundtracks. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity, and is pumped to be working with this incredible team on a bucket-list production.
Bert is one of Australia’s leading men of Stage, recently being Green Room nominated for his “Body of Work”. Known for a variety of shows across the country including Lungs, I Am a Miracle, Birdland, Timeshare, The Good Person of Szechwan, Let’s Get It On, When I Fall in Love- The Nat King Cole Story, The Mountaintop (Green Room Award Nominee) and original cast member of Rupert (MTC and Washington US Tour). Bert recently performed in STC’s All My Sons and has just stepped off the stage from GFO’s Dream Lover. Bert was also proud to be part of the Dream Lover Australian Cast recording. Other theatre credits include, Theramene in Bell Shakespeare’s Phedre Elling,Clybourne Park, Next to Normal, A Behanding in Spokane, Richard III, The Hypocrite, Don Juan in Soho, Madwoman of Chaillot, Tom Foolery,and A Female of the Species, for MTC. The Grenade- STC25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (nomination for Helpmann Award) MTC/STC, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Essential Theatre. Musical theatre include production of An Officer and a Gentleman (Helpmann Award Winner), Chess, Kismet, Grey Gardens, Pippin,, Full Monty, Jesus Christ Superstar, Showboatand Guys and Dolls. Film credits include Animal Kingdom, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Rats and Cats, Evil Never Dies, Salem’s Lot, The Cook and The Pugilist at Rest! Television credits include Winners and Losers, Upper Middle Bogan, Sea Patrol IV, Wilfred II, Lowdown, Neighbours, Good Guys Bad Guys, Blue Heelers, Simone De Beauvoir’s Babies, Backberner, Flipper, City Homicide, Bogan Pride. Bert is very excited to be part of the Australian premiere of this incredible show. Bert has been a proud member of Equity since 1996.
New seats were released to the public today for the musical which is set to open at the Melbourne’s Princess Theatre in January.
Tickets and more details are available at: Bookofmormonmusical.com.au