"I Believe!": Cody Jamison Strand, Denee Benton and Pierce Cassedy Share Stories From The Book of Mormon National Tour With Second City

By Evan Henerson
28 Mar 2014

Cody Jamison Strand
Cody Jamison Strand
Photo by Joan Marcus

Cody Jamison Strand, Denee Benton and Pierce Cassedy, stars of the touring production of The Book of Mormon, shared wisdom from the road during a talkback with Second City in Los Angeles.

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Observations from a remote Ugandan village... by way of Hollywood Boulevard...

Where the composition of beds is concerned, metal trumps wood every time.

When casting associates have passed on you four times, be a glutton for rejection and try for a fifth.

And several months spent dropping melodic f-bombs and giving the finger to the almighty eight times a week makes for one heck of a nice "semester abroad" from conservatory training back east.

Such were the pearls of wisdom dispensed by members of the national tour of The Book of Mormon to comedy students from Second City Hollywood. The Mormon talkback was held at Second City's Hollywood studios a few blocks down Hollywood Boulevard from the Pantages Theatre where The Book of Mormon is playing through May 11.

Cody Jamison Strand, who played Elder Cunningham on Broadway before joining the tour, shared Mormon war stories with national tour first-timers Denee Benton (who plays Nabalungi) and Pierce Cassedy (Elder McKinley). Topics ranged from preparing family members for the onslaught of raunch that comes with the show to training to the gusto of "rock star audiences" in every city that The Book of Mormon visits. One Second City student took home a stuffed frog courtesy of the show, although the usually quick-witted Strand had a rocky time explaining the amphibian's function in The Book of Mormon to the talk-back audiences, nearly half of whom had not seen the show.

Context or no context, swag or no swag, the Mormon visit was good for a ton of laughs and also served a useful educational purpose, according to Second City administrators.

"The actors in Book of Mormon are really living a dream of a lot of our students here," said Marc Warzecha, Second City Hollywood co-artistic director who moderated the event.

Continued...

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