Pacific Northwest native, David Larsen stars as Elder Price in “The Book of Mormon”. This Broadway hit is on it’s second national tour and currently in Seattle. Don’t miss it! Get tickets here or read about the ticket lottery at the bottom of the interview.
Earle Dutton: What is it like to be performing in the Pacific Northwest again?
David Larsen It is pretty amazing! I absolutely love it up here. It was really fun to be back in my hometown of Portland for a bit. My mom actually grew up here in Kirkland. She moved down to Portland when she was in high school. So, I have some Seattle ties as well.
ED: What were your theater influences growing up?
DL: I actually got into theater through dance. I studied Oregon Ballet Theater. Growing up, I really thought I was going to be a ballet dancer. I love Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and all the Great Russian ballet dancers. That ended up leading me to actually coming up here quite a bit. I studied under Wade Walthall of the PNB and John Prinz. I guess seeing strong male dancers always inspired me. That sort of led me into theater.
ED: What has been your favorite role so far?
DL: Well, this is definitely one of them. It is really fun to get out there and have such a good time in such a funny show. Other than that, it would be the exact opposite of something like this. My other favorite would be in my last show, Hands on a Hard Body. I played an Iraq Veteran coming home suffering from PTSD. The two roles couldn’t be more opposite from one another but I love that the most. I got to do completely different things within the same year.
ED: Do you ever wear the garments during the show?
DL: Yes, I do.
ED: Do we get to see them?
DL: I don’t know if I am even allowed to say that but I definitely have them on. (Laughter) We have to save some surprises!
ED: What’s your favorite theme in the show?
DL: I guess that it is a group of people working together to make the world a better place. I think that those people that have gotten lost in the controversy of show or those that have ended up leaving the show early definitely miss out on that over prevailing theme. I think that is just too bad. I look at it and think that is just a really good positive story.
ED: What is your favorite scene in the show?
DL: My favorite scene to do is the spooky Mormon hell dream. My favorite scene of the show is when I get to be on stage and watch “Turn It Off”.
ED: Growing up, did you ever think you would be going on a Mormon Mission across the country?
DL: (Laughter) No. However, I had a number of Mormon friends growing up. There was even a seminary right at the entrance to my high school. There were definitely times growing up that I wished I was Mormon. Even if it was just to hang out with my friends more often. When I was younger, I didn’t fully understand what it was. I guess I had an idea by high school. It was a very attractive thing to see so many people that seemed to have such strong community.
ED: Are you allowed Sister-Wives or Brother-Husbands while on tour?
DL: (Laughter) Ah, I guess I suppose I could but I haven’t yet.
ED: Are you required to be partnered with another Elder all the time while on tour?
DL: (Laughter) No. However, there is very little downtime. We do tend to spend it together when we are off stage as well.
ED: Did you meet the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker?
DL: Yes, we met them and worked with them. We were down in LA for about 4 months. They came in the first couple weeks we were there and put their stamp our company. It was a really cool experience. They were very down to earth and easy to talk to. Yet, you can just see the genius in how we were directed.
ED: Did you watch the South Park Mormon Episode before you got the part?
DL: No, I didn’t. But I have seen it since. I have been a huge fan of South Park.
ED: Have you toured in any cities with large Mormon communities yet? How did it go?
DL: Yes, there are quite large communities in both Vegas and Portland. Those might be largest Mormon communities we have encountered on this tour so far. In fact, in Portland there were usually groups of 4 to 8 missionaries handing out Books of Mormon outside of the theater.
ED: Were you nervous?
DL: No, I think it is awesome. Every Mormon I have ever met has been really nice and full of a genuine happiness. At least it seems that way. Without them, this show doesn’t exist.
ED: The show is so popular, is there a secret to getting good tickets?
DL: We have a ticket lottery before every show. You just arrive two and a half hours before the curtain and at two hours before the curtain they draw the winners. You have to bring a picture ID and you can buy up to two tickets for $25 cash each. If you win, you will be sitting right up in the front row. You will be right in the mix of it. It is a good way to get tickets even if the show is sold out. There is a lottery for every performance. It is really fun when we arrive to the theater and see the people and all the excitement. It is great energy. Sometimes it is anywhere from 50 to 400 people out there. There is just and energy and excitement about this show that is really fun.