"American Idol" Finalist Syesha Mercado Joins Chicago Production of The Book of Mormon
By Adam Hetrick
"American Idol" finalist Syesha Mercado has taken over the role of Nabulungi in the Chicago production of the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon, which began previews Dec. 11 at the Bank of American Theatre.
Mercado recently appeared as Ti Moune in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Once On This Island. She has been in Chicago rehearsing the show for the past two weeks, and began performances with the cast when previews began Dec. 11.
Stephanie Umoh, the star of the Broadway revival of Ragtime and the York Theatre Company's The Show Goes On, was originally announced to play the role of Nabulungi. Representatives for The Book of Mormon confirmed Mercado's casting, but did not elaborate on the reasons for Umoh's departure.
The Chicago production will officially open Dec. 19. It marks the third staging of The Book of Mormon to open in the U.S. It is currently set to play through June 2, 2013. All performances through March 3, 2013, are currently sold out.
Nic Rouleau and Ben Platt co-star as Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, respectively, in a cast that also features Pierce Cassedy as Elder McKinley and James Vincent Meredith as Mafala Hatimbi.
"South Park" creators-writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Tony-winning Avenue Q songwriter Robert Lopez collaborated on the script and score to the musical, which earned Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical.
Co-directed by Parker and Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon opened to critical acclaim March 24, 2011, at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Both earned Tony Awards for their work and repeat their duties for the tour.
Completing the company are Christopher Shyer, David Aron Damane, J. Casey Barrett, Tallia Brinson, Patrice Covington, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Jake Emmerling, Mike Evariste, Donell James Foreman, Bradley Gale, Eric Giancola, Darius Harper, Eric Huffman, Corey Hummerston, Eric Jackson, Emily Jenda, Nick Laughlin, J. Paris Alexander Nesbitt, Monica Patton, John Pinto Jr., Jon-Michael Reese, Travis Robertson, Cessalee Stovall, Hardy Weaver, Rob Colletti and Stephen Mark Lukas.
The Book of Mormon has 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 Oremus.
Tickets range from $45-$115. A daily $20 ticket lottery will be offered two-and-a-half hours prior to each performance. Visit BroadwayInChicago.com.
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